Italian Driver Confesses to Fatal Hit-and-Run of SMU Grad

56-year-old Italian man confesses to hitting woman

By Frank Heinz and Julie Tam
|  Thursday, Oct 13, 2011  |  Updated 10:53 AM CDT
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Loved Ones Grieve for SMU Grad Killed in Hit-and-Run

Allison Owens

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SMU Grad Killed in Hit-and-Run in Italy

A 23-year-old SMU grad, Ally Owens, was killed in a hit-and-run in Italy, where she was working as a tour guide.

SMU Mourns Loss of Ally Owens

Friends and faculty at Southern Methodist University remember graduate Ally Owens killed in a hit and run accident while she was jogging in Italy.
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Italian investigators believe they have found the driver responsible for the hit-and-run death of SMU graduate Ally Owens.

Owens was struck and killed while jogging in the town San Giovanni Valdarno, outside of Firenze, Italy, where she worked as a tour guide.  Owens was initially reported as missing after she never returned from a jog.  A passerby spotted her body three days later in a water-filled ditch.

Italian police say 56-year-old businessman Pietro Stefanoni, 56, confessed to falling asleep at the wheel and losing control of his car.  He said when he realized he had struck the 23-year-old woman, he left the scene.

A speed camera captured his car driving toward the spot of the collision.

An Italian newspaper reports that Stefanoni has hired the same attorney who represented the family of Meredith Kercher, a slain British student for whom American student Amanda Knox's murder conviction was overturned this week.

A family spokesperson told NBC 5 that when Owens' mother Cindy arrived in San Giovanni Valdarno, she was met with a community of people, of strangers, who contributed to make the most sorrowful day in her life less so.

"I want for my family to be ease and some kind of justice for her harm that was caused," said Maggie Gordon, Owens' cousin and McCauley's daughter. "I'm sure he feels terribly guilty but I really wish he would have rendered aid."

Owens' mother plans to have her daughter cremated in Italy and brought back to the U.S. for funeral services in their hometown of Columbus, Ohio, and Owens' birthplace of Dallas, where she graduated from SMU in May 2010.

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