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Two charged in accident that killed Pottsgrove teen



Two Collegeville residents have been charged in connection with a car accident that killed a 16-year-old Pottsgrove High School student.

The Pottsgrove Police Department and the Montgomery County District Attorney's office announced the arrests Monday after finding that the woman who said she was the driver of the car that struck Tim Paciello, Jr. actually was the front-seat passenger. Authorities learned that Robert N. Sitler, Jr., her boyfriend, was operating the vehicle when it hit Paciello as the high school junior crossed East High Street by Sunnyside Avenue in Lower Pottsgrove Township.

Sitler, Jr., who told authorities he was a passenger, faces homicide by vehicle, insurance fraud, unsworn falsification to authorities, false reports, corruption of minors, conspiracy, reckless driving, speeding and other charges.

Denise Dinnocenti, who had claimed to the driver, faces charges include insurance fraud, unsworn falsification to authorities, false reports, corruption of minors, and conspiracy.

Authorities say Sitler was behind the wheel of a vehicle driving eastbound on East High Street on Nov. 12. He was tailgating another vehicle, as both approached the intersection where Paciello was crossing, police said.

As the vehicle in front of Sitler's signaled a right turn, Sitler veered into the center, left-turn lane to pass the other car, and hit Paciello who was in that lane waiting to continue crossing the street.

After the crash, Dinnocenti told bystanders and police, and provided a written statement, claiming she was the driver. Sitler made a written statement saying the same. In the backseat were Dinnocenti's two children, who corroborated that first account.

During a follow-up interview, said police, Dinnocenti and Sitler both admitted that Sitler - who had drunk "a few beers" and was involved in a 2004 pedestrian crash in Alabama - was the driver. In that 2004 case, Sitler was convicted of vehicle homicide-manslaughter.

The pair also acknowledged to authorities that they had instructed Dinnocenti's children in the backseat to lie about who was driving at the time of the accident.

Sitler and Dinnocenti were scheduled to be arraigned today before a District Judge in Pottstown.