Lawrence Eagle-Tribune story
from Tuesday, March 23, 2010
Mother still waiting for
accident report after fatal crash in Reading
By Brian Messenger
READING — It's been four months since a motorcycle accident claimed
the life of Penney Jean "PJ" Richards and still the family has no
answers as to what happened that day.
"I really don't understand why it's taking so long," said Penny
Morang Richards, mother of Penney Jean and former Eagle-Tribune
columnist and reporter. "I'd really like someone to explain that to
On Nov. 19, 2009, Richards, 25, of North Reading was the passenger
on a motorcycle driven by her friend Michael A. D'Amore, 32, of
Reading. Both were killed when the motorcycle collided with a
Chevrolet pickup truck driven by Robert Kwmuntis, 52, of Derry, N.H.,
on Route 129 about 10 a.m. Kwmuntis was uninjured.
Reading police Detective Derek Holmes said the motorcycle was
traveling west when it hit the side of the pickup truck. He said
there was minimal traffic at the time and that weather did not
contribute to the accident.
"I want to know who is responsible for the death of my daughter,
whether that is the driver of the pickup truck or the driver of the
motorcycle. That's what I want to know. Once I know that
information, I can process that and start dealing with it," Richards
Richards acknowledged the possibility that the fatal crash was "just
an unlucky twist of fate" and that no one is at fault.
"If that's the determination, that's what I live with," said
Richards. "I just need to know."
State police Lt. David Wilson said yesterday he expects an accident
reconstruction report on the crash will be sent to the Middlesex
district attorney's office by the end of the week. He said the
report has been written and is now being reviewed.
"It's a complex criminal investigation," said Wilson. "It takes a
lot of scientific evidence you get from the roadway and scientific
principles we use to reconstruct the crash. So four months is not
Wilson said it will be up to the district attorney to determine if
charges will be filed.
Richards said she has been contacted by dozens of people who were
touched by her daughter. She said a memorial service for Penney is
planned this spring at Massachusetts General Hospital, where her
daughter worked for a short time before the accident.
"I am so lucky I got to be her mother," said Richards. "I try not to
think of it in terms of milestones. There are plenty more milestones
that are going to come up."
She had planned to exchange charm bracelets with her daughter on
Christmas. On Saturday, she bought one in her daughter's memory.
"It will be my PJ bracelet, a bracelet my girl didn't get to give to
me, but I will wear it in her honor," said Richards. "I had
Christmas in March this weekend."