Fatal hit-run trial continues Monday

2013-11-30T20:45:00Z 2013-12-10T18:13:23Z Fatal hit-run trial continues MondayTimes Staff nwitimes.com
November 30, 2013 8:45 pm  • 

CROWN POINT | The trial of a Lakes of the Four Seasons man charged in the fatal hit-and-run death of a Lake County Jail officer continues Monday.

The selection of 12 jurors and two alternates concluded Tuesday, and then the trial recessed for Thanksgiving.

The trial is scheduled to open at 9:15 a.m. with Lake Criminal Court Judge Salvador Vasquez presiding.

Jason Cozmanoff, 43, is charged with 12 felonies and a misdemeanor stemming from allegedly having failed to stop after an accident and then fleeing the scene of an accident that left Lake County correctional officer Britney Meux, 25, dead at the crash site. Seriously injured were three fellow officers: David Murchek, Latasha Johnson and Delano Scaife.

Meux suffered a broken back, a spinal injury and broken left leg, authorities said. Murchek suffered two broken feet, and Johnson and Scaife each had arm injuries, court records state. All three surviving officers were hospitalized and underwent surgery.

The officers were jogging east on 93rd Avenue in Crown Point on the evening of March 6, 2012, when they were struck by a 2002 GMC Yukon driven by Cozmanoff, police said.

During the investigation, police said they received a call from Cozmanoff's estranged wife saying he admitted to driving the vehicle. Broken parts found at the crash scene were linked to the GMC Yukon, later determined to belong to Cozmanoff's father.

Police allege the vehicle's airbag control module indicated the vehicle was being driven about 77 mph six seconds before impact.

Police said the Yukon was found inside the Lakes of the Four Seasons home Cozmanoff shared with his father. Shattered glass was found inside the vehicle and garage as well as shards embedded in Cozmanoff's clothing and sunglasses, police said. A possible blood stain was found on Cozmanoff's pants, court records state.

Intense publicity surrounding the incident led to the court imposing a gag order against public comment on the case as charges against Cozmanoff mounted.

Cozmanoff was freed on bond in March 20212 after posting $9,000 in cash, only to be re-taken into custody and required to post an additional $4,000 in cash as the charges were amended. 

He ultimately was charged with reckless homicide, three counts of criminal recklessness, two counts of failure to stop after an accident resulting in death and multiple counts of failure to stop after accident resulting in serious injury, all felonies. He is also charged with a single misdemeanor count of reckless driving.

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