Siblings file lawsuit over 2016 Amherst crash that killed father

  • Peter Sheremeta, 20, of Belchertown, is led into Hampshire Superior Court on June 16, 2017, to be arraigned as the alleged driver who struck and killed William Wanczyk Sr., while was at an Amherst bus shelter on Nov. 6, 2016.  GAZETTE FILE PHOTO

Staff Writer
Published: 11/8/2019 4:54:56 PM
Modified: 11/8/2019 4:54:42 PM

NORTHAMPTON — The children of a man who was struck and killed by a truck while waiting at an Amherst bus shelter in 2016 have filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the alleged driver and passenger along with the business which owned the vehicle. 

A civil lawsuit was filed Wednesday in Hampshire Superior Court by William Wanczyk Jr. and Marlee Wanczyk, the son and daughter of William Wanczyk Sr., of Northampton, who was killed by a truck while waiting at a bus stop at 141 N. Pleasant St. in Amherst on the night of Nov. 6, 2016.

The Wanczyk children are suing Peter Sheremeta, the alleged driver of the truck, Paul Leblanc, who allegedly revealed the location of the car’s keys to Sheremeta and both Shaul Perry and his business, Sunwood Builders, Inc. for what the lawsuit has claimed as wrongful death. Only Perry and his company are being sued for one count of negligence and another for gross negligence. The Wanczyks are seeking an unspecified amount of damages. 

Sheremeta is currently being held at the Hampshire County Jail & House of Corrections, according to the lawsuit. According to the Hampshire Superior Court clerk’s office, Sheremeta has pleaded not guilty to charges of manslaughter, manslaughter while operating under the influence, motor vehicle homicide, drunken driving, assault and battery with a dangerous weapon, negligent operation of a motor vehicle, use of a motor vehicle without authority and leaving the scene of property damage. Sheremeta is due in court on Nov. 13 for a status hearing. 

Police allege that Sheremeta was behind the wheel of the stolen 2008 Ford F550 truck that killed Wanczyk. The lawsuit said the truck ran over a granite curb, drove onto the sidewalk and entirely demolished the bus stop where Wanczyk was waiting. The truck kept moving after hitting Wanczyk and was abandoned, police said.

According to the lawsuit, the truck was registered to Perry and adorned a Sunwood Builders sign affixed to the truck’s black box-style bed. Sheremeta reportedly admitted to being intoxicated by drugs and alcohol on the day of the crash and recalled being in the car that day, while also acknowledging he could have been driving prior to the crash, the lawsuit states. 

Leblanc, a former Sunwood employee, reportedly admitted to police that he and Sheremeta had previously used the truck for “various criminal activities,” saying he had placed the keys in the truck’s side compartment in the presence of Sheremeta, according to the lawsuit.

The lawsuit states that Perry and his business were obligated to lock and remove the key from the truck.

“Plaintiffs claim that the acts and/or omissions described against each named Defendant … constitute negligence which directly contributed to and resulted in the injury and death of William Wanczyk, Sr.” the lawsuit reads.

Reached by phone on Friday, Perry declined to comment. The Wanczyks attorney who filed the lawsuit, Stephen Ferrarone of Amherst, also declined to comment. 

Michael Connors can be reached at mconnors@gazettenet.com.


Daily Hampshire Gazette Office

115 Conz Street
Northampton, MA 01061
413-584-5000

 

Copyright © 2019 by H.S. Gere & Sons, Inc.
Terms & Conditions - Privacy Policy