WILKES-BARRE – Investigators have obtained pictures illustrating damage on a 1999 Pontiac Grand Am when it was involved in a crash in December 2011. It is the same vehicle suspected in the December 2012 hit-and-run that claimed the life of 5-year-old Kevin Miller of Dallas.
Investigators seized the Pontiac on Friday from the residence of Thomas Letteer Jr., 22, of Plains Township. Luzerne County District Attorney Stefanie Salavantis identified Letteer as a person of interest in the fatal crash on Dec. 21.
The Miller child was struck by what city police said was a red Pontiac Grand Am as he crossed West North Street with his father and other family members.
The Pontiac taken Friday appeared to have a newer passenger-side headlight and light damage to the front passenger side. The driver's side headlight appeared dirtier and more aged.
Investigators obtained a search warrant for Nationwide Insurance, which processed a claim for the same Pontiac, which is registered to Letteer's father, Thomas Sr. According to the search warrant, Letteer Jr. was operating the Pontiac when it was involved in a three-vehicle crash in Plains Township on Dec. 3, 2011.
Nationwide Insurance surrendered the 11 pictures of damage on the Pontiac related to the December 2011 crash, according to an inventory receipt made public Tuesday.
Search warrants also were issued for cellphone records belonging to Letteer Jr. and his girlfriend, Abigail Tarver, 22, of Pittston Township.
Police said Miller was struck at 10:56 p.m. Dec. 21. Investigators believe Letteer called Tarver a few minutes before 11 p.m. on Dec. 21, saying he was on his way to her apartment on Oak Street, according to the search warrants.
Tarver told investigators she never had any discussions with anyone regarding Letteer's alleged involvement in the hit-and-run on West North Street, but investigators say they learned Tarver did confide in a friend identified in search warrants as Witness #2, who contacted police on Dec. 29.
The witness told investigators she picked up Tarver at a bus terminal in Monroe County on Dec. 23, and Tarver was going to tell her something that she had to keep to herself, according to the search warrant affidavit.
Tarver told the witness Letteer was drunk when he came to her house on Dec. 21, according to the affidavit. The witness indicated Tarver further told her that Letteer hit someone and killed them, states the affidavit. Letteer told Tarver he thinks it was the 5-year-old boy reported in the news.
Investigators believe Letteer was on his way to Rodano's restaurant on Public Square after leaving a party in West Wyoming.