The Tuscany town of San Giovanni Valdarno, where the tragic hit-and-run incident occurred. Image: helgabj/Flickr/CC BY
The Tuscany town of San Giovanni Valdarno, where the hit-and-run incident occurred. Image: helgabj/Flickr/CC BY

A Tuscany businessman has confessed to striking and killing a 23-year-old American woman working in Italy. The woman was jogging with her iPod on, and may not have heard the car coming. Police officers found the car, to which repairs had already been made, prompting the confession.

Never returned from jogging Sunday afternoon

Allison Owens, of Columbus, Ohio, was working in Italy as a tour guide for Californian travel company Backroads. The Southern Methodist University graduate went missing late Sunday afternoon after going out to jog. Owens had only arrived in the Tuscany town of San Giovanni Valdarno the day before to stay with friends. Police scoured the area Monday, after her disappearance was reported, but no sign of her was found.

Owens’ body was spotted Wednesday by a passer-by, partially submerged in a canal near the highway. The dead woman was still wearing the headphones from her iPod.

Car located by speed camera footage

According to local authorities, the car that fatally struck Owens was tracked down using footage taken by a highway speed camera and from green paint chips left on a guardrail near the canal. Although far from the scene of the crime, the car was in the state of Tuscany and the “substantial damage” it had sustained in the incident had already been repaired by mechanics.

Pietro Stefanoni, 56, a Tuscany businessman, turned himself in Friday after the vehicle was impounded. He was questioned by Italian magistrates for several hours on Friday, telling them that he fell asleep behind the wheel and then his car hit Owens. The incident is believed to have occurred between 5:20 p.m. and 6 p.m. on Sunday, local time.

Family and friends

The victim’s mother, Cindy Owens, flew to Italy on Wednesday to identify the body.

Before her body was found, friends set up a Facebook page to solicit information about the missing woman’s whereabouts. Since then, it has become a memorial page, where the popular woman has been eulogized by her friends.

“Allison was a beautiful girl who obviously loved life and lived it to the fullest,” one of them posted. “Rest in peace Ally, we will carry you in our hearts forever. We will carry your bright smile in our hearts forever,” wrote another.


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