N.H. detective arrested in Bedford hit-and-run crash

BEDFORD, N.H. — A New Hampshire detective who was fired after his unmarked police vehicle was allegedly involved in a hit-and-run accident in Bedford faces felony charges of leaving the scene of an accident.

Stephen Coco, a detective sergeant who worked in the Special Investigations Unit in Manchester, turned himself in to police Tuesday, four days after two teenage boys were hit from behind and injured as they were walking along a quiet residential street at about 9:20 p.m. Friday.

Authorities would not confirm whether Coco, 41, was driving. He was arraigned on two felony counts of conduct after an accident and released on $20,000 bail.


While a standard condition of bail is to refrain from ‘‘excessive use of alcohol,’’ on Coco’s bail form the word ‘‘excessive’’ is crossed out and the word ‘‘any’’ was handwritten.

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Coco’s lawyer, Mark Howard, did not immediately return calls seeking comment.

Hillsborough County Attorney Patricia LaFrance said Coco lives about a mile away from where the teenagers were hit. Coco was off duty at the time of the accident.

Two Bedford High School seniors were injured in the accident. Dean Drukker, 18, suffered a concussion with bleeding on the brain, a separated shoulder, and bruises and abrasions, according to the arrest warrant affidavit. Noah Hickman, 17, suffered a broken right elbow. LaFrance said she has spoken to the parents of both teenagers, and both are home recuperating.

Pamela Hickman, Noah’s mother, said Tuesday that the boys were struck in front of the Hickmans’ home.


Nancy Drukker, Dean’s mother, said she is thankful.

‘‘We can’t believe he survived such a terrible hit and run,’’ Drukker said.

‘‘We are appalled and shocked that it was a police officer,’’ she said.

Drukker lauded Noah Hickman’s quick action dialing 911 on his cellphone to summon help for her son, who was knocked uncon­scious. ‘‘He’s our ultimate hero.’’

Bedford police interviewed Hickman at Elliot Hospital less than two hours after the accident. According to the arrest warrant affidavit, Hickman said he and Drukker noticed the vehicle that hit them leaving a home. Officers then went to that home and learned the names of five guests who had visited that night, including Coco.


Two officers went to Coco’s home just after 3:30 a.m. and saw fresh damage to the police-issued, unmarked Nissan Pathfinder sport utility vehicle parked in his driveway. The damage included a cracked bumper, dented hood, and damaged headlight. A plastic lens piece recovered from the scene of the accident matched a piece missing from the headlight.

When the Bedford officers confronted Coco, he denied that he had driven anywhere that night, according to the affidavit. Police impounded the vehicle and obtained a search warrant. Closer inspection revealed a fabric impression on the front bumper that matched clothing Drukker was wearing when he was struck.

Manchester Police Chief David Mara fired Coco Monday, saying he had violated several standard police procedures, without being more specific. Coco had been with the department for 17 years.