Man charged with 2nd-degree murder in Trooper Bava's death

3 years 10 months 3 weeks ago Monday, November 23 2015 Nov 23, 2015 Monday, November 23, 2015 1:38:00 PM CST November 23, 2015 in News
By: Jenna Middaugh, KOMU 8 Digital Producer

AUDRAIN COUNTY – Missouri State Highway Patrol troopers arrested a Mexico man Monday in connection with the August death of Trooper James Bava.

Audrain County Prosecuting Attorney Jacob Shellabarger said he filed charges against 20-year-old Serghei Comerzan, and troopers arrested Comerzan around 10 a.m.

Shellabarger charged Comerzan 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.

“This weekend, I met with the Bava family and informed them of my charging decisions,” Shellabarger said. “While nothing will bring back James, the family wishes to acknowledge that the criminal case process will hopefully bring accountability to the man responsible for his death."

The probable cause statement said Bava clocked a motorcycle driving 105 miles per hour on Missouri Route FF around 8:30 a.m. Aug. 28. Bava notified Troop F radio personnel he would try to find the motorcycle.

The statement said Troop F radio personnel notified Corporal S. A. Ballard, who was in the area.

At 8:35 a.m., after two attempts to reach Bava by radio and one attempt by cell phone, Audrain County 911 dispatch told Troop F it had received two emergency calls from drivers reporting a wrecked patrol car on Missouri Route FF.

At 8:42 a.m., witnesses reported seeing a body near the wrecked patrol car.

The probable cause statement said Ballard went with the Troop C Major Crash Investigation Unit and other officers to investigate the crash.

Ballard found two eyewitnesses working in the area at the time of the crash.

“We heard a street bike coming. You could tell he was flying,” one witness said. “We heard the sirens. We came outside and heard metal scraping pavement like he bottomed out. I saw the car go into the tree line. It flipped, rolled and burst into flames.”

Another witness said he was working in the attic of a new house on Highway FF when he heard the motorcycle.

“Then I heard sirens coming so I stepped outside and seen the State Highway Patrol car coming, chasing the motorcycle,” the witness said. “When the patrol car come over the hill it sounded like it went airborne then hit the pavement again. Then I seen it hitting the trees and engulfed in flames and parts flying back across the road.”

The statement said a few witnesses were able to describe the motorcycle, which helped investigators match the motorcycle to Comerzan.

While being interviewed, Comerzan denied being on Missouri Route FF at first. He later admitted he was on Missouri Route FF and was the rider on the motorcycle.

Comerzan said his motorcycle was fast and he could “easily outrun a cop” if he wanted to.

Shellabarger said a judge set Comerzan’s bond at $100,000 cash-only.

Related Stories

More News

Grid
List
COLUMBIA - Community members came together Saturday for a Walk and Roll-A-Thon in recognition of Disability Employment Awareness Month. ... More >>
1 hour ago Saturday, October 19 2019 Oct 19, 2019 Saturday, October 19, 2019 5:11:00 PM CDT October 19, 2019 in News
COLUMBIA - Demonstrators rallied at Speakers Circle on Saturday for the first ever National Period Day. Organizers said they... More >>
2 hours ago Saturday, October 19 2019 Oct 19, 2019 Saturday, October 19, 2019 3:47:00 PM CDT October 19, 2019 in News
COLUMBIA - Community members got the chance to challenge Columbia police officers in their favorite video games during the department's... More >>
2 hours ago Saturday, October 19 2019 Oct 19, 2019 Saturday, October 19, 2019 3:41:00 PM CDT October 19, 2019 in News
ST. LOUIS (AP) — Grassroots organizations are working across Missouri to persuade gun-related business owners to join efforts to limit... More >>
2 hours ago Saturday, October 19 2019 Oct 19, 2019 Saturday, October 19, 2019 3:37:00 PM CDT October 19, 2019 in News
SALINE COUNTY — Three Saline County children abducted in 2017 were found in Arlington, Texas on Thursday, according to the... More >>
4 hours ago Saturday, October 19 2019 Oct 19, 2019 Saturday, October 19, 2019 2:15:00 PM CDT October 19, 2019 in News
JEFFERSON CITY - One Lincoln man is dead following a crash between a motorcycle and a tractor-trailer Friday night on... More >>
5 hours ago Saturday, October 19 2019 Oct 19, 2019 Saturday, October 19, 2019 1:19:00 PM CDT October 19, 2019 in News
COLUMBIA - The Columbia Water and Light department said it believes all power has been restored in Columbia. About... More >>
8 hours ago Saturday, October 19 2019 Oct 19, 2019 Saturday, October 19, 2019 10:05:00 AM CDT October 19, 2019 in News
MARSHALL - The suspect in a pair of shootings in early October has been caught out of state, police announced... More >>
21 hours ago Friday, October 18 2019 Oct 18, 2019 Friday, October 18, 2019 9:10:00 PM CDT October 18, 2019 in News
CALIFORNIA - A man heard his sentence on Friday after killing a 20-year-old three years ago for drunk driving. ... More >>
23 hours ago Friday, October 18 2019 Oct 18, 2019 Friday, October 18, 2019 6:31:00 PM CDT October 18, 2019 in News
COLUMBIA - Below are scores from football games around mid-Missouri. Final scores are in bold. ... More >>
1 day ago Friday, October 18 2019 Oct 18, 2019 Friday, October 18, 2019 6:06:00 PM CDT October 18, 2019 in Friday Night Fever
COLUMBIA —The University of Missouri issued a statement Friday that the MU Department of Theatre was "in error" when it... More >>
1 day ago Friday, October 18 2019 Oct 18, 2019 Friday, October 18, 2019 5:52:00 PM CDT October 18, 2019 in News
COLUMBIA - Friday Night Fever’s Week 8 Game of the Week features a dominant Helias (6-1) visited by a surging... More >>
1 day ago Friday, October 18 2019 Oct 18, 2019 Friday, October 18, 2019 5:44:00 PM CDT October 18, 2019 in Friday Night Fever
COLUMBIA — The True False Film Festival and Ragtag Cinema are dissolving their relationship with Columbia church The Crossing. Cinema... More >>
1 day ago Friday, October 18 2019 Oct 18, 2019 Friday, October 18, 2019 5:33:00 PM CDT October 18, 2019 in News
COLUMBIA - Springfield Mayor Ken McClure hosted a group for a strategy session that included Governor Mike Parson in October.... More >>
1 day ago Friday, October 18 2019 Oct 18, 2019 Friday, October 18, 2019 4:18:00 PM CDT October 18, 2019 in News
KANSAS CITY - The extent of Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes' leg injury sustained during the team's Thursday night... More >>
1 day ago Friday, October 18 2019 Oct 18, 2019 Friday, October 18, 2019 3:07:00 PM CDT October 18, 2019 in Sports
JEFFERSON CITY - A damaged downtown Jefferson City building is scheduled for demolition, but the owners have filed an appeal... More >>
1 day ago Friday, October 18 2019 Oct 18, 2019 Friday, October 18, 2019 2:26:00 PM CDT October 18, 2019 in Continuous News
COLUMBIA - A drug company's decision is causing new worries for the families of children with cancer. Vincristine, a... More >>
1 day ago Friday, October 18 2019 Oct 18, 2019 Friday, October 18, 2019 1:55:00 PM CDT October 18, 2019 in News
JEFFERSON CITY - Jefferson City Police investigated a threat at Thomas Jefferson Middle School on Friday. TJMS sent out... More >>
1 day ago Friday, October 18 2019 Oct 18, 2019 Friday, October 18, 2019 1:27:00 PM CDT October 18, 2019 in News
Columbia, MO
Broken Clouds 56°
7pm 57°
8pm 56°
9pm 55°
10pm 54°