STOUGHTON — After he allegedly struck and killed a 20-year-old jogger with his Ford Explorer, Jeffrey W. Bickoff told a police officer he had one rum and Coke that day.
But a receipt from a Stoughton Chinese restaurant indicates that he ordered three of the drinks a few hours before the accident, Assistant Norfolk District Attorney Debi Curley said at Bickoff’s arraignment.
Bickoff, 44, pleaded not guilty to motor vehicle homicide and other charges in the death of Haley Cremer of Sharon on June 15.
District Judge Richard D. Savignano set bail at $10,000 cash and set a pretrial hearing for Aug. 8.
Curley said in court that Bickoff drove across a marked line where he “struck and catapulted Haley some 78 feet to her death.” The prosecutor said Bickoff should have been able to see Cremer from 290 feet away.
Bickoff is also charged with speeding, driving with a suspended license, and committing a marked lane violation.
“He drives between 45 and 50 miles an hour, claiming he wasn’t texting, claiming he didn’t drop a cigarette, claiming that he wasn’t distracted, yet we know that for 290 feet the defendant had visibility,” Curley said. “Yet he drove over the right fog line onto a raised curb and struck and catapulted Haley some 78 feet to her death, although he lost the privilege of driving when his license was suspended.”
Bickoff’s court-appointed attorney, Richard Comenzo, said outside the courtroom that Bickoff had passed the field sobriety test.
“I never observed anything that would indicate Jeffrey was under the influence of alcohol, nor did I smell any alcohol coming from his person or vehicle,” wrote Officer Steven Kraus in the June 15 incident report. Kraus wrote that two other officers agreed with his assessment.
But Curley said in court that an officer obtained a receipt from Cheng-Du that showed Bickoff ordered three drinks. She also suggested that he had deleted some messages from his phone.
Curley highlighted Bickoff’s lengthy driving record, tallying his 10 accidents and nine speeding violations in the last 27 years. She told the court about Cremer’s final hour.
On sunny June 15, just after 4:30 p.m., several emergency and police personnel responded to the intersection of Hampton and Dogwood roads in Sharon, where Cremer lay on her stomach with her arms at her side, blood around her head.
She was transported to Norwood Hospital, where she was pronounced dead.
Another young woman sat on the ground, crying hysterically, according to a police report. Amy Dono, 23, had crossed the street to talk to Cremer, who stood on the road’s shoulder.
“Miss Dono stated out of nowhere, a white vehicle came around the corner and hit Miss Cremer, throwing her down the street right out of her shoes,” Curley said.
Across the street, Bickoff sat on the front lawn, crying and repeating the words, “She’s dead,” according to the police report. Bickoff told the officer he had been driving home and that he tends to stay close to the white outer line to avoid cars coming from the opposite direction. He said he did not see Cremer until the moment of impact.
“There’s no question about this. It’s a terrible, terrible tragedy that could have been avoided,” Comenzo said outside the courthouse. “But as to whether it was criminal intent, I do not know all of the details at this point.”
Comenzo said Bickoff, who is indigent, will have trouble posting his bail. “He took full responsibility and is just devastated by the whole situation,” he said.
In court, Comenzo said Bickoff has been cooperating with police in the investigation, which is ongoing. He asked that his client be released without bail. “He was not running anywhere,” Comenzo said. “He is not a flight risk.”
As they left Stoughton District Court holding hands, Cremer’s mother, Ivie, and father, Mark, did not speak to reporters. Supporters of Bickoff also declined to comment.
Cremer had completed her sophomore year at Simmons College, where she studied physical therapy.
Claire McNeill can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.