Robert Beodeker, college dean, had hypodermic needle after fatal crash: officials
A Suffolk college official pleaded not guilty Thursday to an indictment charging he was driving under the influence of drugs when he struck and killed two men standing near a disabled vehicle along the Meadowbrook Parkway in March.
Robert Beodeker, 50, of Aquebogue, an associate dean at Suffolk County Community College's Riverhead campus, was charged with aggravated vehicular homicide and other felonies -- the same charges he faced after his arrest when prosecutors said blood tests came back positive for methamphetamine and amphetamine.
The indictment unsealed Thursday also provided new details about the incident and Beodeker's statements afterward.
Prosecutors and court documents show Beodeker had a hypodermic needle in his jacket pocket after the fatal crash.
When asked, Beodeker 50, of Aquebogue told police he didn't know where the needle had come from: He said it could be his partner's, it could to a student at SCCC, according to court papers filed Thursday.
Beodeker could face up to 25 years in prison.
He remains jailed on $1 million bond or $500,000 cash bail. His next court date is April 30.
Beodeker's attorney, Richard Wool of Plainview, said he has not had a chance yet to speak with his client about the needle. Of the other drugs found in Beodeker's system, Wool said they came from antidepressants his client was taking and "would have increased his ability to drive, not decreased it."
In statements to police, Beodeker said he did not need the needle for any of his prescription medications.
Wool said what happened was an accident, and that the evidence will show the victims, John Elder, 76, of Freeport, and Edward Ross, 65, of North Bellmore, were closer to the road than police have said. The men were next to their disabled vehicle on the shoulder of the Meadowbrook Parkway just south of the Southern State Parkway in Roosevelt, police said.
Beodeker is associate dean of student services, responsible for counseling, financial aid and more. The recently divorced father of three has a doctorate from Columbia University, where he also teaches.
Beodeker told police he did not see two men by the side of the road at all until it was too late, court documents released Thursday show.
As he came up over a hill, two lanes merged into one and the men and their vehicle were on the shoulder, he said.
Prosecutors have said the men were not standing at the top of an incline when they were hit.
"I saw them and immediately swerved to the left," Beodeker said in a statement later that day as he spoke to police at Nassau University Medical Center in East Meadow."I knew I had struck a passenger, he said. "I saw bodies in the street and phoned 911."