WRENTHAM — When Moses Acloque stepped out of his pickup Monday night and saw the motionless body he had dragged for about 3 miles underneath the vehicle, he and a friend jumped back inside, threw the vehicle into reverse in an attempt to dislodge the body, and tried to flee, police said.
Moments later, the 22-year-old from Norwood was stopped by a state trooper and arrested on multiple charges that included leaving the scene of a crash that claimed the life of Kanchanben Patel, 58, a Wrentham motel manager who was dragged across the town line into Foxborough.
“As I approached Acloque, it appeared that he had a deer carcass wedged underneath’’ the truck, Trooper Sean O’Brien wrote in his report. “I could hear the sound of something being dragged.”
Acloque pleaded not guilty to the charges in Wrentham District Court Tuesday and was released on $3,000 bail, with the requirement that he wear a GPS monitoring device.
Patel and her husband, Dahyabhai, were struck by the pickup after other motel staff confronted Acloque and his friend about their bill for a room at the Arbor Inn on Route 1, where they apparently went to watch the Patriots game, prosecutors said. Dahyabhai Patel had minor injuries.
Colleagues at the motel declined to comment, and relatives of the couple could not be reached.
Attempting to leave the scene, Acloque, “with complete carelessness and disregard for the human lives in the parking lot, accelerated so quickly that the truck left a long burnout patch in the parking lot” and struck the Patels, the police report said.
Acloque was driving with a license that had been suspended in June for failing to pay a citation, according to state records. He received a second suspension in July after being cited for three driving infractions over two years. His lawyer, Rudy Miller, said his client was being attacked by a group of people, including motel staff, and “he ran away in fear,” later receiving treatment for his injuries at Norwood Hospital. “He feared for his life,” Miller said after the arraignment.
Miller said Acloque, who works assembling garage doors, came from a “prominent, responsible family,” noting that his father is a Boston police detective. Acloque wore hospital scrubs with his hands cuffed at his arraignment. Miller said Acloque was “heartsick” about what happened. “The gentleman is depressed,” Miller said. “He’s a decent human being.”
In addition to setting bail, Judge Emogene Johnson Smith ordered Acloque to stay away from the motel and not to contact any witnesses. She set a Dec. 19 probable cause hearing.
Prosecutors had asked the judge to require home confinement and to set bail at $5,000.
“Bail is based on someone’s propensity to flee, and there was no past history here,” said David Traub, a spokesman for the Norfolk district attorney’s office. “We came in with what we thought was in the range that the court would consider, and it turned out it was higher.”
The conflict began before 10 p.m. at the motel and ended in the parking lot of the Chickie Flynn’s restaurant near Patriot Place. O’Brien wrote in his report that he was in the Foxborough barracks parking lot on Route 1 when he saw two vehicles operating erratically, and he chased them.
O’Brien stopped the second vehicle and discovered the driver was a witness who reported that he had seen Acloque run over several people at the motel and was dragging them under his truck. The witness was following Acloque and driving erratically to attract attention, the report said.
O’Brien then found and stopped Acloque in the restaurant parking lot. Acloque got out of his vehicle and “began yelling for help and that someone was chasing him,” O’Brien wrote in his report. O’Brien said he went to an area where Acloque had previously stopped in the lot “to see if I could locate the object. I observed a lone object in the parking lot. As I drew closer, I could determine that it was a human body.” Looking more closely at the body, the trooper said, he discovered “significant mortal wounds.”
O’Brien said his investigation had determined that before he was stopped by police in the parking lot, Acloque and the passenger in his vehicle, Michael Skuncik, 22, had gotten out and inspected the body the vehicle was dragging.
They “both decided to leave the parking lot after seeing the motionless and badly damaged body of Patel,” O’Brien wrote.
Acloque was beginning to drive away when O’Brien arrived and put his lights on, the trooper wrote.David Abel can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. John R. Ellement can be reached at email@example.com.