Penney Richards
November, 2009

Lawrence Eagle-Tribune story from Friday, January 22, 2010

Police identify Derry, NH, man as second driver in fatal crash in Reading

By Brian Messenger

READING Breaking two months of silence, police yesterday identified a Derry, N.H., man as the pickup truck driver involved in the Nov. 19 accident that killed two people.

Robert Kwmuntis, 52, was driving a friend's Chevrolet pickup truck on High Street just before 10 a.m., when he took a left turn onto Lowell Street (Route 129) and was struck by a motorcycle, according to Reading police Detective Derek Holmes.

Police said the green-and-silver pickup truck he was driving is owned by James Pedro, 63, of Salem., N.H. Attempts to contact Pedro were unsuccessful yesterday.

Killed in the crash were the driver of the motorcycle, Michael A. D'Amore, 32, of Reading, and passenger Penney Jean "PJ" Richards, 25, of North Reading.

Holmes said Kwmuntis was uninjured.

Kwmuntis declined comment yesterday over the phone.

For two months after the accident, Reading police refused to identify the pickup truck driver, waiting instead to receive an accident reconstruction report from the state police before releasing more information.

"Waiting for an accident report has been very difficult," said Penny Richards, Penney "PJ" Richards' mother. "But clearly I'll have to continue to be patient and let them continue to do the work they need to do so we can find out what happened."

Yesterday, Holmes said it will likely be two to three weeks before the state police report is ready. Upon receiving it, he said Reading police will combine the report with their own and meet with the Middlesex district attorney's office to determine if charges will be filed against Kwmuntis.

Complicating the investigation is that, other than Kwmuntis, police have interviewed no other witnesses to the crash.

"No one came out and said they witnessed the accident," said Holmes. "That's why I think the district attorney is going to wait until the state police report comes out to determine if charges (will be filed) against the pickup driver."

Neighbors described the accident scene as a dangerous intersection. It is in a residential neighborhood not far from the center of town.

Lowell Street is a main drag that leads to Interstate 93.

Holmes said there was minimal traffic at the time and that weather did not contribute to the accident. He said the motorcycle was traveling west when it collided with the side of the pickup truck.


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