Case dismissed, charges re-filed in trooper's death

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AUDRAIN COUNTY - Prosecutor Jacob Shellabarger dismissed a trial scheduled for next week and re-filed multiple charges against the man accused of being involved in trooper James Bava's death in August 2015.

Comerzan is charged with murder in the second degree for the death of Trooper James Bava of the Missouri State Highway Patrol.  He is also being charged with resisting a lawful stop, resisting a member of 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. These are the same charges Shellabarger filed originally.

Shellabarger said he expects Serghei Comerzan, 21, to post bond and face arraignment on the charges at a later date. 

Bava called the Missouri State Highway Patrol dispatch around 8:30 a.m. in 2015 saying he saw a motorcyclist going 105 miles per hour. According to the probable cause statement, Bava said the motorcyclist took off when he saw Bava.  

When operators tried to contact Bava a few minutes later, he did not respond. Officials found his vehicle crashed off Route FF in Audrain County. According to witnesses, Bava's vehicle left the road, rolled over, hit a fence and trees, and caught fire.  Bava died in the crash.

Police arrested Comerzan, the man accused of making the traffic violation and starting the chase, and he was charged. Comerzan spent six months in Montgomery County Jail before bailing out in March, when a Montgomery County judge lowered his bail to $100,000.

Shellabarger said he asked Bava's family for their input and made this decision in the best interest of the state and justice.

 

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