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New Hampshire

March 27, 2013

Detective fired, arrested after hit-and-run crash

BEDFORD — A New Hampshire detective who was fired after his unmarked police vehicle was involved in a Bedford hit-and-run accident has been arrested.

Stephen Coco, a detective sergeant who was working in the Special Investigations Unit in Manchester, turned himself in to police yesterday, four days after two teenage boys were hit from behind and injured as they were walking along a street. The vehicle left without stopping.

Authorities wouldn’t confirm whether Coco, 41, was driving. He was arraigned on two felony counts of conduct after an accident and was released on $20,000 personal recognizance bail. Court documents said Coco was to refrain from drinking any alcohol as part of his bail conditions.

Hillsborough County Attorney Patricia LaFrance said Coco lives about a mile away from where the teens were hit. The accident happened about 9:20 p.m. Friday, when Coco was off duty.

“We are investigating this as we would any incident,” she said at a news conference.

Police say the teens, ages 17 and 18, were walking along Harrod Lane. One of the victims suffered head trauma and was taken to a hospital with serious injuries. The other was taken to the hospital with minor injuries.

LaFrance said Tuesday that both boys are at home recovering.

Court documents said Coco was questioned by police Friday night. He said he hadn’t gone anywhere that evening. Police said his 2007 Nissan Pathfinder parked in the driveway had a dented hood, cracked bumper cover and a broken headlight. They said part of a headlight at the accident scene.

Manchester police fired Coco, a 17-year veteran of the department, on Monday. They said he had violated departmental standard operating procedures.

A call to Coco’s lawyer wasn’t immediately returned yesterday morning.

In 2004, an unleashed dog rushed at Coco and his two small daughters as they were walking in a Manchester park. Coco shot and killed the dog.

A county attorney declined to prosecute him, saying there was a lack of evidence of criminal threatening or reckless conduct on Coco’s part. Coco said the dog jumped on and snapped at him and his children.

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