DEDHAM — The driver of an SUV that struck and killed 20-year-old Haley Cremer last year as she jogged in her Sharon neighborhood apologized to her family Friday as a judge sentenced him to 2½ years in prison.
The driver’s license of Jeffrey Bickoff, of Sharon, had been suspended when his vehicle struck Cremer, throwing her more than 85 feet, according to court testimony.
Bickoff was convicted last week by a jury in Norfolk Superior Court of motor vehicle homicide by negligent operation and of reckless assault and battery. He had 20 driving-related violations on his record, including 10 speeding tickets and 10 car crashes for which he was found to be at fault.
During the sentencing hearing Friday, Bickoff, 45, sat tensely in the courtroom, his legs and arms crossed as he clenched a tissue between his hands. He studied a yellow piece of paper torn from a legal pad that held his statement to the judge.
He spoke slowly, taking breaks, as he apologized to the Cremer family.
“I never meant to hurt anyone,” Bickoff said. “Please try to accept my apology and know it is sincere because I cannot offer anymore than that.”
The Cremer family —
Morgan, two years younger than Haley, said her sister missed her high school prom, graduation, and acceptance into college within the last 13 months.
Knowing Bickoff was driving with a suspended license made the incident unforgivable, Morgan said, because the defendant knowingly broke the law.
“That fact makes this a crash and not accident,” she said.
Cosgrove sentenced Bickoff to 2½ years in the Norfolk County House of Correction for the motor vehicle homicide conviction, followed by three years of probation the conviction on the assault and battery with a dangerous weapon charge. He also will lose his license for 15 years.
The office of Norfolk District Attorney Michael Morrissey asked Cosgrove to sentence Bickoff to a maximum of seven years in state prison. Defense attorney Paul Freitas sought one year home confinement and three years probation.
In the wake of Cremer’s death, family and friends campaigned for a change in state law that would require the Registry of Motor Vehicles to notify a driver’s local police department if his or her license is suspended or revoked for public safety reasons. The law is slated to take effect in January 2017.
The information that the registry will provide to local police includes the action taken against the offending driver, the reason for doing so, and the plate numbers of any vehicles registered to the driver.