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Taunton man charged and set to face new charges after crash that killed Fall River crossing guard – Fall River Reporter

A 29-year-old Taunton man who was arraigned in April in Taunton District Court in connection with a fatal crash on Route 44 in Taunton is being arraigned on new charges in Fall River Superior Court.

Ricky Jorge Ponte was previously charged with negligent homicide in a motor vehicle while driving under the influence of alcohol, leaving the scene of an accident causing death, driving under the influence of alcohol causing serious bodily injury, and leaving the scene of an accident with personal injury.

Late last month, Ponte was indicted by a Bristol County Grand Jury on charges of involuntary manslaughter, leaving the scene of personal injury and death, driving under the influence of alcohol and causing serious injury and negligence, and leaving the scene of personal injury.

The charges stem from a crash in the area of ​​380 Winthrop Street (Route 44). At approximately 9:15 p.m. on March 10, Taunton Police were called to the scene of a two-car crash. Vehicle one was identified as a black Mercedes and vehicle two was identified as a Honda CRV. The Mercedes was found to be unoccupied, but a 46-year-old passenger in the Mercedes was located nearby. The passenger advised officers that Ponte had been driving the Mercedes, but had left the area following the crash.

A short time later, Taunton police received a call from an employee at the Irving gas station on Route 44 in Taunton. The employee told police that a man had just walked into the gas station bleeding. The man was later identified as Ponte.

When emergency responders approached the Honda CRV, they found the driver, Margaret (Peggy) McGowan, 67, of Fall River, trapped inside the vehicle. Her passenger, a 16-year-old relative, was sitting outside the vehicle in shock. McGowan was eventually extricated from the vehicle, at which point she and the 16-year-old girl were transported to area hospitals. On March 28, McGowan succumbed to her injuries sustained in the crash and died at the hospital. The 16-year-old girl was seriously injured, but her injuries were not life-threatening.

According to prosecutors, a video showed Ponte getting out of his vehicle and walking away from the screaming victim after the crash.

Data recovered from his vehicle showed Ponte was driving 71 MPH in a 40 MPH mixed residential and commercial zone and did not brake prior to the head-on collision.

As Ponte left the store, a store worker noticed blood on his face. Ponte was staggering and asked to go to the bathroom but had to be directed there. Instead of calling 911, phone records show Ponte called his mother, who eventually showed up at the scene.

When officers found Ponte, he was on the bathroom floor and determined that his eyes were glassy and he was combative. Ponte was taken to the hospital for his own injuries. Once there, Ponte said he did not remember the accident.

While McGowan earned a master’s degree and went on to become a case manager for the Department of Developmental Disabilities in Plymouth, Fall River residents remember Peggy most as a crossing guard in her post-retirement life, where she was beloved by everyone she passed, resulting in a community service award in 2022.

Ponte is scheduled to be arraigned on the charges on Tuesday.

The case is being prosecuted by Deputy District Attorney Charlie Schofield.

Jessica Machado contributed to this report.