Driver turns self in after US jogger dies in Italy

AP News
Posted: Oct 07, 2011 5:43 PM
Driver turns self in after US jogger dies in Italy

Italian police on Friday arrested the driver of a car believed to have struck and killed an American woman while she was jogging on a Tuscan highway on accusations of manslaughter and leaving the scene of a crime, authorities said.

Pietro Stefanoni was jailed after nearly 12 hours of questioning. He had turned himself in on Friday morning after police located his car and discovered it had been repaired, carabinieri police in Arezzo said.

Stefanoni, 56, told authorities he fell asleep at the wheel on Sunday when it apparently fatally struck 23-year-old Allison Owens of Columbus, Ohio, news reports said.

Calls to Stefanoni's lawyer went unanswered Friday.

Carabinieri police Col. Antonio Frassinetto has said Owens was believed to have been struck between 5:20 p.m. and 6 p.m. Sunday while jogging along a busy state highway running through the town of San Giovanni Valdarno, between Florence and Arezzo.

The police official said investigators tracked down the suspect's Volvo by analyzing speed camera footage of the road and green paint chips on the guardrail near where Owens' body was found _ a canal close to the highway.

Frassinetto told The Associated Press the car was impounded Friday morning after police located it in Tuscany, albeit it far from the scene. He said it had already been repaired by mechanics, and that the damage from the collision had been "substantial."

He said the driver turned himself in after the car had been located, implying that he only did so knowing that police were closing in on him. News reports had initially suggested Stefanoni turned himself in spontaneously.

The Owens' family lawyer, Valentino Durante, told the AP the family was expected to make a comment Saturday.

Frassinetto said prosecutors had asked police to return to the scene for further investigation.