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Peter Tyliczka was killed on Oct. 1, 2011 in a car accident in Westfield. The driver in the other car, Robert McGowan, of Connecticut, was indicted last month for vehicular homicide. (Tyliczka family photo)
Peter Tyliczka was killed on Oct. 1, 2011 in a car accident in Westfield. The driver in the other car, Robert McGowan, of Connecticut, was indicted last month for vehicular homicide. (Tyliczka family photo)

It was early morning when the knock came, Sheri Tyliczka’s remembers. The Jersey Journal reports.

Two men stood at the house where she lived with her father and her two children, and told her her dad, Peter Tyliczka, had died in a car crash.

Hours earlier, Peter Tyliczka, 69, was driving in Westfield with his girlfriend, Katherine Grecco, 61, when the car was struck by another vehicle on Oct. 1, 2011. Grecco, now 65, still walks with a limp, and has pins in her left ankle as a result of injuries she suffered in the crash.

Last month, almost exactly four years after the crash, the driver of the other car, Robert McGowan, 29, of Trumbull, Conn., was indicted on charges of vehicular homicide and assault by auto.

McGowan is originally from Westfield and graduated from Westfield High School.He works as a realtor and won an election for Trumbull town council in November, according to the clerk’s office there. A call to McGowan’s lawyer was not returned.

“That gentleman went on to live his life for four years,” said Sheri Tyliczka, who now lives in Florida, where she moved because she was unable to afford the Old Bridge Township home after her father’s death.

Tyliczka still has newspapers with reports of the accident describing how her father was thrown from his 2001 Cadillac by the force of the crash. She and her relatives have kept in contact with the Union County Prosecutor’s Office and Westfield police about the accident, calling the authorities weekly, she says.

Still, Tyliczka says, she can’t explain why it took four years to bring charges against McGowan.

“I just don’t know,” she said.

She is quick to say investigators kept working on the case, and repeatedly told her that authorities were waiting on reports from experts. The prosecutor’s office declined to comment when asked why it took four years to file charges.

The accident occurred shortly before 1 a.m. as Peter Tyliczka was driving on Clifton Avenue in Westfield, when McGowan, driving a 2009 Honda Accord, came out of Tice Place and the two cars collided.

Grecco recalls that Tyliczka came to her Garwood home to pick her up on the evening of Sept. 30, but said she has no other recollection of that night.

“I don’t remember anything,” she said. “Pete had come to pick me up. Where we had dinner, and who we had dinner with, I can’t remember.”

She woke up in University Hospital in Newark and was told Tyliczka had been killed in a crash.

“I wasn’t able to go to the wake because I was in the hospital,” said Grecco, who still lives in Garwood. “I found out what happened when my daughter and son told me.”

Among her injuries were a broken collar bone and several fractured ribs. She has little use in her right hand because it still shakes, she said.

Grecco has stayed in touch with Peter’s daughter Sheri, she said. Grecco’s lawyer recently called her with news of the indictment and that the case is moving forward.

“Very, very frustrating,” Grecco said waiting for some resolution of the case. “I just want it to be over and done with.”

Grecco and Sheri Tyliczka said authorities told them that on the night of the crash, McGowan was speeding and went through a stop sign. The complaint filed against McGowan in court gives no details of the crash.

Peter Tyliczka was survived by three daughters – Sheri Tyliczka and her two sisters – five grandchildren, and his sister and three brothers.

 

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