A Memorial Highway Dedication Ceremony was held early Monday to honor the late Missouri State Highway Patrol Trooper James M. Bava. The portion of Missouri Route FF, from Elmwood Drive westward to Audrain County Road 977 has been named in his honor.
House Bill No. 2335 was signed last year by Gov. Jay Nixon and went into effect on August 28, 2016, one year from the date of his tragic death.
The event was held on Missouri Route FF in Mexico, Mo. and featured remarks from colleagues, state officials, and family members, including his fiancé.
“It was said of James during his funeral, that James was a good man and I’m here today to echo that sentiment…,” said his father Jim Bava during his remarks.
“The tragic events of that day could have been avoided if on that morning a speeding motorcyclist would have made the choice to just slow down and pull over while being pursued by James…”
Jim Bava noted the importance of his family’s faith in trusting that they will see him again in heaven.
“Until that time, this father’s heart is broken. And he longs to see and hold his son again. He longs to see his son’s big smile, to hug him, and tell him that I love him,” he added.
Trooper James Bava’s fiancé said the love, comfort, compassion shown to her and the family during the past year are nothing short of “remarkable.”
“He wasn’t just a cop,” she noted. “He was a human just like the rest of us. He had a family and he had a future, one of which I was suppose to be a part of…”
The late trooper’s mother Alyce Bava also gave some remarks.
“James valiantly chose to uphold his oath of office to serve and protect at any cost,” she said. “James sacrificially chose to do the (hardest) thing and it cost him his life.”
Alyce Bava shared many special memories of her late son regarding who he was as a person and the countless special moments spent with family and his fiancé.
She said his death has left a painful hole in his absence for those who love him.
“It’s in the darkest of places that the light of the gospel message shines the brightest…,” she added.
Alyce Bava noted the importance of Jesus Christ in her family’s life. She said her son trusted the Lord Jesus Christ as his savior.
The event began with a welcome from Master Sergeant Douglas B. McPike followed by the invocation from Troop F Chaplain Bob Knight.
Alex Armstrong sang the National Anthem and later sang “Amazing Grace.”
Remarks were scheduled from Troop F Captain Michael Turner, MOSTA President Cody Fulkerson, and Eileen Rackers, a state highway and traffic engineer.
State Senator Jeanie Riddle and State Representative Jay Houghton were present. Framed Senate Bills with the dedication proclamation and a pen were presented to several loved ones.
Colonel J. Bret Johnson gave the closing remarks and Knight gave the benediction. A luncheon was provided afterwards at the Kentucky Road Christian Church.
More on his death
The late Trooper Bava was killed when working on a “routine traffic enforcement” on Missouri Route FF as he met a motorcycle traveling at a high rate of speed.
He notified Missouri State Highway Patrol Troop F radio personnel that he checked the motorcycle’s speed at 105 m.p.h., turned around on it, and then said “he took off on me.”
After two attempts to reach Bava failed just minutes later, two emergency calls were received from passerby’s reporting a wrecked patrol car.
Since the fatal day, 20-year-old Serghei Comerzan, of Mexico, Mo., received multiple charges, including a second-degree murder charge.
Comerzan’s trial is set for October 11. He is currently out of Montgomery County Jail after bailing out in March when his bail was lowered to $100,000.