Sgt. Stephen Coco has been fired from the Manchester Police Department after hitting two teenage pedestrians on Harrod Lane in South Bedford and fleeing the scene. Both pedestrians were injured, one suffering a “serious head trauma,” the Union Leader reported.
Coco, a 17-year veteran of the police force, was working in the Special Investigations Unit and was driving a police-issued unmarked Nissan Pathfinder when the vehicle allegedly hit the teens from behind and then left the scene without stopping. Coco turned himself into police four days after the incident. Internal affairs is investigating the incident, but reported that Coco violated several police policies, and is currently facing two felony charges.
Coco allegedly struck 18-year old Dean Drukker and 17-year old Noah Hickman as they were walking through the Bedford neighborhood about 9:20 p.m. Drukker suffered a concussion and Hickman suffered a broken elbow. Both boys were treated at the hospital and later released. Both boys are Bedford High School seniors and close friends. The boys reportedly told police they had seen the Pathfinder leaving a certain residence prior to the accident, reports the Concord Monitor.
Investigations into the Hit-and-Run
Officers interviewed the owner of the residence and were told that Coco was a guest at the home that evening. The police also reportedly found the Pathfinder, then parked at Coco's residence, had damage to the hood, bumper and headlight. A plastic piece of lens from the scene of the accident matched the Pathfinder's damaged lens. A fabric impression that matched the clothes Drukker was wearing when struck was also found on the front bumper of the SUV, the Concord Monitor reported.
Hillsborough County Attorney Patricia LaFrance said in a statement that, “In this case, obviously because it involves an off-duty Manchester police officer, we want to make sure people understand there's no favoritism. We're investigating this as we would any conduct-after-an-accident and we want the public aware of that,” the Union Leader reported. LaFrance said Coco was off duty at the time of the accident, though she would not say if he was driving the vehicle at the time of the accident or how many passengers he was carrying.
Coco appeared in Merrimack County District Court and was released on $20,000 bond. He is set to appear in court on April 16.
LaFrance said the case will be referred to a prosecutor from outside Hillsborough County.