Reports: Driver in fatal crash was taking meds

03/05/2013 1:57 PM |
Aquebogue man charged in Meadowbrook crash

GOOGLE MAPS | Monday’s fatal crash reportedly happened just south of the Southern State Parkway.

An Aquebogue man is facing reckless driving charges after he crashed into a disabled vehicle along the Meadowbrook Parkway  in Nassau County Monday, striking and killing two men who were working on the car, state police said.

Robert Beodeker, 50 — a college educator who is active in the performing arts community on the North Fork — was heading south on the Meadowbrook about 12:40 p.m. in Roosevelt when he struck a disabled Nissan Maxima and two pedestrians that were tending to the sedan, police said. The pedestrians, John Elder, 76, of Freeport and Edward Ross, 65, of North Bellmore died at the scene.

The victims were both in the Nissan before it broke down, according to a police report. They had stopped the car in the parkway’s hazard markings, police said.

State police told Newsday.com the car was pulled over on the right shoulder near where three southbound lanes merge to two.

Mr. Beodeker, who was driving a GMC pickup truck, “either didn’t observe or failed to see that the lanes were merging, and he struck the vehicle that was broken down and was being worked on by the two individuals that were killed,” a state police investigator told Newsday.

An accident investigation closed the Meadowbrook’s southbound lanes for about six hours, state police said.

Mr. Beodeker was charged with reckless driving and aggravated unlicensed operation of a motor vehicle in Nassau County criminal court, officials said. He told the court that he had taken Ambien and depression medication before the crash, according to a News12 report.

He pleaded not guilty and was released after posting $1,000 cash bail, court officials said.

Mr. Beodeker is an associate dean for student services at Suffolk County Community College.

“We would like to express our sadness at hearing about the loss of life that resulted from the accident,” school officials said in a statement. ” While not officially contacted, we understand through news reports that the individual involved is one of our employees. As this is an ongoing police investigation, the college will wait until it can review the outcome of that investigation.”

Mr. Beodeker also teaches at Columbia University.

He’s also known locally as an actor, director and president of the North Fork Community Theatre group in Mattituck. He’s been involved with the Riverhead Faculty and Community Theatre group, which traditionally puts on a fall show at the high school.

Mr. Beodeker will next appear in court on Thursday, court officials said.

psquire@timesreview.com

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