Driver sent to prison for cop’s hit-and-run death
The 55-year-old Lincoln Park man convicted in the hit-and-run death of Detroit Police Officer Myron Jarrett was given a lengthy prison sentence Monday for the crime.
Steven Guzina was sentenced to 16-20 years on second degree-murder charges, 10-15 years for operating under the influence causing death and 10-15 years for failure to stop at the scene of an accident. The sentences will run concurrently. Guzina will get 290 days credit for time spent in jail while awaiting trial.
Guzina pleaded guilty last month to hitting Jarrett and causing the officer’s death Oct. 28 on the city’s west side as Jarrett was assisting other officers with a traffic stop.
Guzina told police he had been in a crack cocaine-fueled binge several hours earlier before he hit and killed Jarrett, according to a police detective’s hearing in the matter.
A detective testified that during four hours of questioning Oct. 29, Guzina told him 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.
The detective said Guzina told him he “had no idea” how long he drove around while high. He said he ended up on Puritan with another woman he allegedly tried to get to buy more crack cocaine for him.
Guzina 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 a police car where Jarrett was standing.
“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.”
When the crash occurred, Jarrett, 40, was standing on Puritan near Monica talking to a two other officers, helping them log on to a system that runs license plates.
The other officers had pulled over two other cars, which were not related to the deadly hit-and-run, when the white utility van Guzina was speeding in smashed into the squad car from behind, propelling Jarrett’s body underneath his own police vehicle.
Jarrett, a popular 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, the detective said during the preliminary examination.
“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.”