A former Suffolk college official admitted Monday to taking methamphetamine before getting behind the wheel and causing a 2013 parkway crash that killed two men who were standing by a broken-down car.
Robert Beodeker, 52, of Aquebogue, pleaded guilty in Nassau County Court in Mineola to aggravated vehicular homicide and driving under the influence of drugs, prosecutors said. A Nassau judge said he would sentence Beodeker to 4 to 12 years in prison under the plea agreement.
New York State Police said that on March 4, 2013, Beodeker's GMC pickup truck slammed into a disabled car on a southbound shoulder of the Meadowbrook State Parkway, with the crash killing John Elder, 76, of Freeport, and Edward Ross, 65, of North Bellmore. The men had been tending to a disabled Nissan on a road shoulder in Roosevelt, just south of the Southern State Parkway.StorySCCC dean indicted in crash that killed 2StorySCC dean pleads not guilty in fatal crashStorySCCC dean, driver in fatal crash, out on bail
In a prepared statement, acting District Attorney Madeline Singas said Elder and Ross "were killed because they were in the wrong place at the wrong time and found themselves in the path of a driver impaired by crystal methamphetamine." The prosecutor also called it "disturbing" that Beodeker was in that condition while heading to his college administrator job.
He was associate dean for student services at Suffolk County Community College's Riverhead campus at the time. A college spokesman said Monday school officials suspended him without pay after the crash, and filed disciplinary charges. After Beodeker couldn't pay bail, the college charges didn't go to a hearing. He resigned in March 2014.
Prosecutors had said Beodeker's blood tests came back positive for methamphetamine and amphetamine, and he had a hypodermic needle in his pocket after the crash. Beodeker had told police he didn't see the victims until it was too late after he drove up a hill and two lanes merged.
A grand jury indicted him on multiple felonies that included vehicular manslaughter and manslaughter counts. He would have faced up to 25 years in prison if convicted of the top charge after trial. Beodeker's attorney, Dana Grossblatt of Jericho, said he pleaded guilty because "he wanted closure for the victims' families and he did not want to put his own family through a drawn-out trial."