CT state police sergeant ‘sped off’ after crash

BROOKFIELD — The attorney representing a college student who was the victim in a hit-and-run crash says his client heard the tires peel out as the Dodge Charger sped away after totaling her Kia Optima.

The driver of the state-owned Charger — Connecticut State Police Sgt. Catherine Koeppel — was issued a misdemeanor summons for following too close and evading responsibility three days after the July 24 crash, state police said. She was released on a promise to appear this week in state Superior Court in Danbury. Koeppel was originally scheduled to appear Tuesday, but her court appearance has been pushed back to Friday.

“She was stopped at a red light, and she got rear-ended — twice — by the same person, who then sped off,” attorney Joseph Foti said in an interview with Hearst Connecticut Media, describing what happened to his client, a 20 -year-old New Milford college student.

Two weeks since the crash, state police have released few details about the incident. State police have not said where the off-duty Koeppel went following the crash, which occurred around 9:30 pm July 24 on Route 7 in Brookfield. State police have also not said why Koeppel left the scene without checking on the other driver.

The state police Public Information Office has declined to answer questions, citing an ongoing internal affairs investigation.

Koeppel, 36, is still reporting to work for desk duty, but her police powers have been suspended, state police said.

She could not be reached for comment and her attorney, Gene Zingaro, declined to comment.

State police said Koeppel and the driver of the car she is accused of hitting had “no apparent injury.”

However, Foti said his client was injured in the crash and is scheduled to start physical therapy for neck and back injuries.

Foti said his client’s car, which he said she needs to drive to work to pay for college, was totaled in the crash.

According to the state police, the collision occurred on Route 7 near the intersection with Route 202 in Brookfield. State police responded to and investigated the crash because Route 7 is a state road.

Both vehicles were in the lane for northbound traffic when Koeppel’s Charger “rear-ended Vehicle No. 1,” the Kia, according to a brief police report known as an Accident Information Summary. Foti said his client was stopped at a red light when she was rear-ended.

The accident report indicates one tow truck company responded to the scene of the crash to remove the Kia. The report also states another company towed the state police vehicle, but it doesn’t indicate where the Charger was located when it was towed.

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