Police: Driver said he was high when he hit, killed cop
A 54-year-old Lincoln Park man told police he was in a crack cocaine-fueled binge several hours earlier before he hit and killed a Detroit Police office last October, according to a police detective’s testimony Tuesday.
Detroit Police Department Detective Moises Jimenez testified Steven Guzina told him Oct. 29 during a four-hour police questioning about the hit and run traffic incident the day before that killed Myron Jarrett that he had come into Detroit a day earlier looking to buy crack cocaine. He told the officer he found two women on opposite sides of the city willing to buy the drug for him with his money.
Guzina, according to the police statements he allegedly gave, smoked the drugs with the woman and then got high alone.
Jimenez testified at Guzina’s preliminary hearing that Guzina said he “had no idea” how long he drove around while high. He ended up on Puritan where he was with another woman he allegedly tried to get to buy more crack cocaine for him. Guzina, in his letter, said he became enraged when the woman kept blasting her music while he drove. He said the loudness of the music and the ringing of a seat belt alarm further aggravated him, causing him to take his eyes off the road. He is accused of plowing into the police car where Jarrett was standing while helping other officers with an unrelated police stop.
“I was dazed and high. I couldn’t see without my glasses,” Guzina allegedly said in his police statement. “I tried to stop. I don’t know if I hit the cop car or the other car.”
Jarrett, 40, was standing on Puritan near Monica talking to a car of two other officers helping them log on to a system that runs license plates when the hit-and-run occurred. The other officers had pulled over two other cars, which had nothing to do with the Jarrett hit-and-run, when the white utility van Guzina was speeding in smashed into the police squad car from behind propelling Jarrett’s body underneath his own police vehicle.
Jarrett, a popular police officer with the 12th Precinct, died of multiple injuries and his death was ruled accidental, according to an autopsy report by the Wayne County Medical Examiner’s Office.
Guzina apologized profusely during his questioning, said Jimenez, who read the statement in court before 36th District Court Judge Lydia Nance Adams.
“I wish it was my life instead of his,” Guzina was quoted as saying. “(An officer) told me he was a good man. I am so, so sorry I wish I could trade places. His life ends senselessly. I’m still here. It’s not right.”
Jarrett’s widow watched during the dramatic and emotional testimony. She was joined by family members and Jarrett’s fellow officers. Video of the hit-and-run also was shown Tuesday.
Later, Andrea Gross, the woman who is believed to have been in the van with Guzina when the hit-and-run occurred, was threatened with contempt of court and being locked up for being uncooperative and at times combative during her testimony.
“I had nothing to do with it,” Gross said in disjointed testimony. “He needed a favor. He wanted some stuff. He said he wanted something to get high (with).”
Gross was deemed Tuesday to be currently mentally incompetent to testify.
At the end of the hearing, Nance Adams bound Guzina over for trial on second-degree murder and other related-charges. His arraignment on information date is Dec. 13.
Jarrett’s widow, Sacha, said after the hearing: “I’m happy with the outcome ... that the judge made the decision that she did. I’m just hoping for justice for my husband.”
Sacha Jarrett’s attorney, Mike Morse, filed a $15 million wrongful death lawsuit against Guzina on Monday in Wayne County Circuit Court for negligent, careless and reckless driving that cause Jarrett’s death.
Morse said the judge “did the right thing” in sending the case to trial.