Highway renamed, ceremony set in honor of late Trooper Bava

1 year 8 months 2 weeks ago Sunday, August 28 2016 Aug 28, 2016 Sunday, August 28, 2016 2:29:00 PM CDT August 28, 2016 in News
By: Max Diekneite, KOMU 8 Reporter

MEXICO - One year ago, 25-year-old Missouri State Highway Patrol Trooper James Bava was killed trying to chase down a motorcyclist he clocked going 105 mph.

Today, a nearly ten mile stretch of the highway where he died has been renamed in his honor. 

According to MSHP's web site, House Bill 2335 established the “Trooper James M. Bava Memorial Highway” on Missouri Highway FF in Audrain County, from Elmwood Drive westward to County Road 977. The bill was signed by Governor Jay Nixon and became effective on August 28, 2016.

The MSHP will hold a dedication ceremony for Bava Monday morning in Mexico, MO. The event's description reads:

"Captain Michael A. Turner, commanding officer of Troop F, Jefferson City, invites the public to attend a ceremony to dedicate a portion of Missouri Highway FF in Audrain County, as the “Trooper James M. Bava Memorial Highway. This memorial highway recognizes Trooper James M. Bava, badge 162, who tragically lost his life in the line of duty in a traffic crash on August 28, 2015."

On that fateful day, Bava called dispatch around 8:30 a.m. saying he saw a motorcyclist commit a traffic violation. When operators tried to contact him a few minutes later, he did not respond. His vehicle was found crashed off Route FF in Audrain County.

The man Bava was chasing, Serghei Comerzan, was arrested and charged with second-degree murder, resisting a lawful stop, resisting a member of the Missouri State Highway Patrol in discharge of his official duties, careless and imprudent driving, exceeding the speed limit and failure to register a motor vehicle with the Department of Revenue.

Comerzan spent six months in Montgomery County Jail before bailing out on March 2, when a Montgomery County judge lowered his bail to $100,000.

His trial is now set for October 11. 

Bava started with the Missouri State Highway Patrol in July of 2013. The ceremony will be held Monday at 10 a.m. on the northeast corner of Highway FF and South Elmwood Drive in Mexico, and is open to the public. 

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