Authorities still pursuing leads in case of city man killed at Amherst bus stop

Saturday, December 03, 2016

AMHERST — Though authorities have been mum on details, investigators are actively pursuing leads in trying to locate the driver who struck and killed a man as he waited at an Amherst bus shelter the night of Nov. 6, First Assistant Northwestern District Attorney Steven Gagne said.

William E. Wanczyk, 55, died of his injuries at Cooley Dickinson Hospital in Northampton that evening after a truck destroyed a bus shelter near the post office on North Pleasant Street, police said.

A green utility truck was seen traveling west on Kellogg Avenue at about 9:30 p.m., turning right onto North Pleasant Street and slamming into the shelter near that intersection, Gagne said. Even after it barreled into the shelter, he added, the truck never came to a stop and continued north.

The chief medical examiner’s office has not yet disclosed the cause of Wanczyk’s death.

The truck was found abandoned nearby, but the driver remains at large. Gagne maintained that the case is far from cold and that the investigation remains active.

“It’s unfathomable the driver didn’t realize they hit something or someone,” Gagne said. “It’s not like they clipped the side of a mailbox or something. This isn’t that kind of case.”

Wanczyk, who lived at the Cahill Apartments at 35 Fruit St. in Northampton, was pronounced dead shortly after 10 p.m.

A 1980 graduate of Northampton High School, he was also a former city special police officer and, for a brief time, worked for the Northampton Fire Department before he retired due to an injury. Wanczyk also earned an associate’s degree from Springfield Community Technical College, according to his obituary.

Anyone with information about the incident is asked to call the Amherst Police Department 413-259-3000 or the Massachusetts State Police Detectives Unit at 413-586-9225. The case remains under investigation by Amherst Police and Massachusetts State Police assigned to the Northwestern district attorney’s office.

Michael Majchrowicz can be reached at mmajchrowicz@gazettenet.com.