BY KEVIN DIFFILY // OCT. 25, 2013 //
The former Curry student charged with vehicular homicide, manslaughter and drunk driving in the May 2013 death of Evan Bard, a nursing student at the college, was back in court this week for a pretrial conference.
Sean Jackman, 24, has pleaded not guilty to the charges. If convicted, he faces up to 20 years in prison, fines of up to $25,000, and the potential lifetime revocation of his driver’s license. The Stoughton, Mass., resident has been confined to house arrest since posting bail of $25,000 back in May.
The May 11 crash occurred in Canton, located in Norfolk County, however the Suffolk County District Attorney’s office is trying the case because Jackman previously interned in the Norfolk DA’s office. He was a member of the baseball team and studied criminal justice, but left the college in 2011 before graduating.
Jackson and Bard, a junior on the Curry cheerleading squad, attended a wedding together and were driving home when Jackman lost control of the car and crashed into a tree. The two previously dated but remained friends, according to students who knew them.
Bard, who was wearing a seatbelt, was pronounced dead at the scene due to traumatic head injuries sustained in the crash, according to court records. Jackman was nonresponsive at the scene and was taken to and treated at Boston Medical Center. First responders reported the smell of alcohol coming from Jackman, who declined to take a Breathalyzer test, court documents said. He was arrested and arraigned from his hospital bed.
Since most Curry students had already left campus for the summer at the time of Bard’s death, the college community had little opportunity to mourn her loss.
On Sept. 14, a memorial service was held at the Alumni Recreation Center. After the service, a tree was planted in Bard’s honor outside the Curry Early Childhood Center, where she was a staff member. A bench, painted pink to reflect Bard’s love for the color, was then dedicated to her at halftime of the football team’s game against Fitchburg State. The bench will remain on the sideline of Walter M. Katz Field.
Senior communication major Sam D’Arrigo said Bard will be “truly missed.”
“She had the smile, personality and attitude that would just light up a whole room,” he said. “I know for a fact that she touched everyone she knew here.”
Seniors Mary Conway, Sophie Geelhoed, and Victoria Hoffman, all of whom are captains of the cheerleading team this year and who shared a suite with Bard last academic year, composed a group statement describing their feelings about their friend.
“No matter where she was going or what she was doing, she always had that contagious smile on her face,” they wrote. “Evan was always there if you needed a hand to hold, an ear to listen, or a shoulder to lean on. As Evan’s [roommates], we will miss her in every aspect of our daily lives.”
Bard was considered a leader on the cheerleading team. “She helped out anyone who needed it,” said her coach, Nicole Bello. “She made sure [her teammates] felt very comfortable in any task I may have asked of the team. She would always pull someone aside to give extra help.
“Her laugh, her smile and her presence are extremely missed.”