Reports: Italian man detained after US jogger dies

October 7, 2011 - 5:35 PM
Italy American Killed

Allison Owen, from Columbus, Ohio is shown in this undated photo released by Carabinieri (Italian Paramilitary Police) Wednesday, Oct. 5, 2011. An autopsy Thursday, Oct.6, 2011 determined that a young American woman whose body was found in a roadside canal in Italy was fatally struck by a vehicle, a lawyer for her family said. The victim, 23-year-old Allison Owens of Columbus, Ohio, worked as a tour guide. She was believed to have been jogging when struck Sunday afternoon along a busy road that runs through the Tuscan town of San Giovanni Valdarno. (AP Photo/Carabinieri, h.o)

ROME (AP) — News reports say Italian police have detained the driver of a car believed to have struck and killed an American woman while she was jogging in Tuscany.

A Tuscan businessman, Pietro Stefanoni, turned himself in early Friday after police located the vehicle and discovered it had already been repaired. The ANSA news agency reports that after some 12 hours of questioning, Stefanoni was ordered held on accusations of manslaughter and leaving the scene of a crime.

Stefanoni reportedly told authorities he fell asleep at the wheel on Sunday afternoon when his car apparently fatally struck 23-year-old Allison Owens of Columbus, Ohio, as she jogged along a busy state highway running through the town of San Giovanni Valdarno, between Florence and Arezzo.

THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. Check back soon for further information. AP's earlier story is below.

ROME (AP) — The driver of a car believed to have struck and killed an American woman while she was jogging turned himself in Friday after police located the vehicle and discovered it had already been repaired, police said.

A Tuscan businessman, Pietro Stefanoni, was questioned for several hours by magistrates Friday, said Carabinieri police Col. Antonio Frassinetto. 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, as the interrogation was under way well into the evening.

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 withholding comment until prosecutors make a decision about possible charges in the case.

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