Pathologist: Dead officer hit ground with 'tremendous force'

2013-12-04T18:45:00Z 2013-12-12T13:58:14Z Pathologist: Dead officer hit ground with 'tremendous force'Susan Brown susan.brown@nwi.com, (219) 662-5325 nwitimes.com
December 04, 2013 6:45 pm  • 

CROWN POINT | A forensic pathologist Wednesday detailed injuries to fallen Lake County correctional officer Britney Meux that spanned her body from head to foot.

Meux, 25, suffered at least a dozen separate fractures, pathologist John Cavanaugh told a Lake County jury hearing the case against Jason Cozmanoff, 43, of Lakes of the Four Seasons.

An autopsy performed the morning after Meux is alleged to have been struck by Cozmanoff's speeding car showed injuries included bleeding on the brain and indications of spinal injury, Cavanaugh told jurors.

The officer suffered fractures to her neck, spine, rib cage, left hipbone and leg, and right forearm, some indicating a "whiplash" type of impact on a hard surface, possibly grass, he said.

The autopsy also showed numerous external abrasions, internal bruising to the lungs, tearing of the liver and lacerations to numerous organs, he told jurors.

The injuries to the outside of the left leg especially indicated signs of a clear impact, Cavanaugh said. 

Cavanaugh said some of the injuries could have been overcome but many were life-threatening, concluding Meux died of multiple blunt force trauma.

There were no treadmarks on the body, but Cavanaugh said she may have rolled, eventually hitting the ground face down with tremendous force.

The type and location of the injuries to the four officers struck the night of March 6, 2012, are of importance to Cozmanoff's defense team, which argues the officers were running at least partially on the roadway as opposed to within the white fogline along 93rd Avenue when they were struck.

Other evidence presented by the state Wednesday included photos of Cozmanoff's GMC Yukon, which sustained heavy damage all along the right passenger's side of the vehicle.

Photos showed a shattered windshield and window on the passenger's side, a crumpled bumper and headlight on the same side of the vehicle as well as a damaged hood.

The damage indicates the officers were struck as they were running along with traffic as opposed to against traffic as traffic laws require.

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