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Looking for Her Dog, Tamera Pizzo, 56, Is Killed by SUV on A1A in Flagler Beach

| May 20, 2016

nissan rogue wreck A1A

The wreck involved this Nissan Rogue SL. Click on the image for larger view. (c FlaglerLive)

Last Updated: Saturday, 9:36 a.m.

Tamera L. Pizzo, a 56-year-old former resident of Minot, N.D., who’d just moved to Daytona Beach, was killed by a passing car as she tried to cross South Ocean Shore Boulevard (State Road A1A) in Flagler Beach, just south of South 26th Street Friday evening.

The wreck took place at 8:43 p.m. in front of 2604 South Ocean Shore. Pizzo was with a companion and had been looking for her dog, walking on the beach-side of the road, when she crossed A1A and was struck. A1A at that juncture is unlit at this time of year. There is a street light at the corner of A1A and South 26th, but it’s turned off during turtle-nesting season. When the moon is behind clouds, as it was Friday evening, the road is in pitch darkness.

Pizzo was in the habit of coming to Flagler Beach with her companion and their dog to walk the dog on the beach, because dogs are not allowed on beaches in Volusia. The couple had been hanging out on the beach (and drinking) when the dog got loose and ran across the road. The woman’s companion went after the dog, which he eventually found. But Pizzo, a Florida Highway Patrol investigator said after speaking with her companion, got tired of waiting and walked up the access point and across the road.

Tamera Pizzo.

Tamera Pizzo.

The car, a burgundy-colored Nissan Rogue SL–a small SUV–was heading south. Two couples were aboard. They had just had dinner at a restaurant in the Hammock and were returning to Plantation Bay. Pizzo was struck on the front-right, passenger side of the SUV and was thrown to the sidewalk, up to the edge of a yard’s grass. Pizzo was pronounced dead at 8:52 p.m. She was a single mother. Her son is attending college in North Dakota.

John Finnegan, a retired man, was at the wheel of the SUV. He immediately stopped a few feet past the point of collision. The collision crushed the right-front side of the vehicle’s headlight and hood and smashed that side of the windshield.

Also in the vehicle were John Morina, 89, and his wife Joan, 84, and Finnegan’s wife Joan, 71. Finnegan was not speeding nor drinking, the FHP investigator said.

A1A was closed in both directions from 25th to 28th street, until 11 p.m. The road had been closed for a few hours as the Florida Highway Patrol investigates the wreck. FHP was at the scene within minutes of the wreck, as were the Flagler Beach Police Department, its fire department, the Flagler Beach Fire Police and Flagler County Fire Rescue. Flagler Beach Police Chief Matt Doughney, who was at the scene, said the department had two victims’ advocates with people involved in the wreck.

Pizzo’s father in Minot was notified of the wreck later that evening. The medical examiner removed the body, which was transported to St. Augustine for an autopsy, at 10:30 p.m. The road reopened to normal traffic at 11 p.m.

car wreck us flag

The windshield of the SUV. (c FlaglerLive)

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37 Responses for “Looking for Her Dog, Tamera Pizzo, 56, Is Killed by SUV on A1A in Flagler Beach”

  1. Field of Dreams says:

    I appreciate that you are always on the local scene, keeping us all up to date far better than your nearest competitor, but your editorial policy on “pictures” like this is enough to keep me from clicking here daily. What the hell is wrong with you? I don’t want to see some woman’s blood up close on the windshield of a car that I know hit her. That’s just sick. If that was YOUR mother or sister or daughter, YOU would not want to see it, would you? No? Well then do unto others like you’d have them do unto you.

    This is not the first occasion that I could say this about your website. Someone on your staff has a bad case of graphic bloodlust and it’s nauseating and depraved. if I want to see a dead woman’s blood, I’ll go hang out at the ER or go ride shotgun with a cop.

    • FlaglerLive says:

      First, we’re not here to tell fairy tales but to report the news accurately, immediately and completely in so far as that’s possible. We’re not showing you dead bodies, but we are showing you the consequences of the worst that happens in our community, within certain bounds. We don’t sugarcoat. Nor is it our place to do so. In war, journalists must report the worst of the horrors (and too rarely do, which is why we show so much indifference to continuing wars). On our roads, it’s our responsibility to report the worst of those horrors. If that instills an ounce of caution in the next driver to perhaps avoid one wreck, then at least something can come out of the senselessness. Your sensitivity to blood is not more important that our collective responsibilities as drivers and pedestrians, and our responsibility to know and see with open eyes what happens when that responsibility may fail. Second, don’t presume to know what we would or would not do with our own parents or siblings if they were in a wreck. One of them was, and was killed in a head-on collision. The reporting in that case had a lot to do with the way we report here, and will continue to do so. Finally, your suggestion that there’s any enjoyment whatsoever in reporting these wrecks and contending with a lot that you do not, in fact, see in these stories, is itself beyond depraved. Then again you seem more bothered by a few drops of blood than you are by the tragedy itself and its consequences on those who must deal with it. At least you chose your handle well, though your flippant suggestion that you could spend some time with a first-responder who deals with this on a too-frequent basis would do you (and us) more good than your white-gloved disaffection.

  2. Facts says:

    Congrats tree huggers. We turn off the lights that are used for pedestrian safety to accommodate sea turtles and it results in a humans death. Glad we put turtle safety in front of our own. Praying for that was lady killed.

  3. Agnese says:

    Such a tragedy, and over the years ,so much has been written about our “seniors” not seeing the road or making bad judgements while driving

  4. Angela D says:

    Facts:
    How about dont drink and then don’t walk along A1A where it’s dark and drivers cannot see you? Or how about don’t drink and pay attention to oncoming headlights and move out of the way?

    It’s called an accident because that’s what it was . It was avoidable if the pedestrian had quicker reflexes and had been paying closer attention.

    Prayers to all.

  5. jim says:

    Maybe it wasn’t the senior or the fact lights were off , if you run out in front of a car there’s nothing lights or drivers can do, it’s horrible regardless

  6. anonymous says:

    This is terrible. I’m so sorry to women’s dog, and family.

  7. woodchuck says:

    Yeah,lets blame the turtles.Sad event but how can you not see headlights from a reasonable distance?It’s not like she was crossing I95.

  8. anonymous says:

    The women has lost her life regardless of crossing street to find her dog. People can be so mean. I think it’s awful. If I had to rum after my dogs it might have happened to me.
    I’msorry for your loss of family member. Death is very hard to deal with.

  9. Dave says:

    Such a sad tragedy. No street lights (turned off) , a woman looking for her pet, cars not a pretty picture.

  10. michael murphy says:

    I never knew Turtles were more important than Human lives.Keep the Damn Lights on A1A is a dangerous road.

  11. Paula Brown says:

    I will pray. Please stop cars from parking on A1A. Drivers can not see pass them to get on A1A. People who park on A1A are in danger getting in and out of the car. A1A is very busy and cars kill people. Please stay safe when you are near A1A.

  12. Anonymous says:

    So sad 😔 R.I.P wish she had been more careful crossing that road better yet she should have had a flashlight…

  13. Bc. says:

    How many turtles might be saved because the lights are turned off for the turtle season. how many humans might be saved because the lights are kept on. Keep the dam lights on

  14. Outsider says:

    My thoughts and prayers go out to this woman’s family. Regarding putting turtles’ lives above humans, all I can say is what else can you expect in a world where people are more outraged by someone kicking a puppy than killing a human being?

  15. B.C. says:

    The speed limit is too high here. It should be 35 in Flagler Beach’s city limits. The beach is ACROSS THE ROAD. Duh.

  16. Amy says:

    Im always amazed at everyones “opinion” , and pointing blame. I’ve crossed that road on foot, and driven it many times. Too many people are distracted while driving and drive too fast (including myself, at times). I find it sad, in any case. If the woman was impaired due to alcohol, its even more sad. I would imagine with lights being out, headlights of a vehicle would appeaar much brighter! Im not a tree hugger, but i do recycle and do a little to save wildlife. I have stopped to help turtles off the road many times. Having pets of my own, i can see her being in a panick. So many tragedies on the road, and it can happen to anyone. This social media, bugs the hell out of me. It gives ignorant people with nothing better to do, the option to run their mouths. A lot of the time these people have no idea what they are talking about, and they think they know it all. Times change, people are stuck in their beleifs, and ideas of how things work, without knowledge. Life is full of lessons every day, if only people could learn to shut their mouths and open their eyes, ears and hearts more. Prayers to all involved.

  17. no says:

    animals are innocent. we are the bad ones.

  18. Because i can says:

    I can’t believe someone hasn’t accidentally driven off the Flagler bridge with all the lights off on the complete east side. This has gone too far. I like the turtles too, but human life is more important. I for one plan on calling DOT in DeLand on Monday to file a complaint about the lights over here, they control them being on state highways. Maybe if enough residents call them, the powers that be will listen.

  19. Bc. says:

    Amy now that we read your opion we can all agree we all have one enjoyed yours👍

  20. DOC says:

    The fine print… dog was off leash and they were drinking.. and lights on car…really….she didn’t see them..

  21. Geezer says:

    Amy makes good points. Good comment…..
    A very sad story, and I am sorry for all involved.

  22. Kelly Petit says:

    A complete tragedy. Living on the street near this incident I can truly say and I have been saying it for a long time. Street lights need to be on. Seems to me that the turtles are more important that a human life. It is so very dark over here at night time.

  23. confidential says:

    The Almighty welcome and embrace Tamera and sooth her love ones and her dog.
    Thank you Flaglerlive for keeping us informed!!

  24. The Geode says:

    It was only a dog….

  25. Donald Trump's Tiny Fingers says:

    This isn’t a lights issue, this is someone who’d been drinking on the beach and got out into traffic. She either didn’t see the vehicle that hit her, or she just expected it to yield. Given the age of the driver, that’s probably not a realistic expectation regardless of how well lit the area is.

  26. Sherry says:

    Agree DTTF, Blaming the protection of nature and darkness is nonsense.

    We live very near there and cross A1A safely all the time. That stretch of road is perfectly straight and headlights are very easily seen. The speed limit is 45, but many drive much faster. It’s extremely important to be very careful when crossing such a busy thoroughfare.

    My heart goes out to the victim’s family and to the others involved in this tragic accident. . . but the nesting of sea turtles did not create this heart breaking situation.

  27. Dave says:

    After reading what DTTT and Sherry wrote, I also have to agree with them. Too many times I have driven down A1A and the people just start walking out in front of cars expecting the cars to yield to their street crossing needs. There is NO flashing pedestrian yield light and crosswalk where this woman was killed. Maybe there should be more of these crossovers. Heck I see people almost run over in front of the Funky Pelican at the pedestrian crosswalk so in addition maybe our Flagler Beach police officers should be giving out heavy fines for those that do no yield. . Sometimes it s lack of common sense, keep your pets on a leash, do not expect cars to stop for you as you just walk across the road specifically A1A..

  28. anonymous says:

    I agree with Sherry and DTTF. A1a is a dangerous street to cross. I don’t think the blame should be put on Sea turtle nesting, or anything else.
    This was a tragic and sad ending.

  29. Todd says:

    Maybe if Volusia county allowed dogs on their precious beaches this woman resident would still be alive today. No, they’d rather have human vomit and tire tracks on their beaches.

  30. David B says:

    Jay walk[ng and Drinking don’t mix.

  31. Decades in Flagler Beach says:

    For those of you blaming the turtles for this tragedy, the street lights along that portion of A1A are not turned off for turtle nesting season. Only the city owned decorative sidewalk lights in the downtown district are. Just to confirm that, I made a trip down to S 26th street this evening and the street light on that corner was lit. Something came to mind while I was there at the exact time that this accident happened. It wasn’t totally dark yet, so I wonder if the driver of the SUV had actually turned his lights on. People sometimes forget to turn them on until it’s so dark they can’t see at all, especially if it was still light when they started driving.

  32. Stephanie says:

    I don’t mind the photos because we need to get a grip on the reality of the situation. We have no awareness and consider our destination more important than that of an armadillo, a mother racoon And her four babies or a human being searching for her dog. Time to stop being uncivilized and realize that anything and everything is possible and that little step we take to ensure things like this don’t have to happen is provoked by true and REAL journalism and that includes the reality of WTF just happened here. By God if it was my family, I’d rather you see the reality than be jaded and forget tomorrow as you are speeding down A1A because you weren’t responsible enough to be aware, punctual or to give a damn. Wake up!

  33. Adult says:

    The bridge lights are out because a drunk driver ran over and destroyed the junction box that controls the east bridge lights. I do agree that the speed limit on A1A should be reduced on the North and South ends. It is dangerous to cross the street from the beach even to go to the Turtle Shack restaurant.

  34. suewho1010 says:

    So many opinions… They just had to add (and drinking) .. Did not mean that this poor woman was impaired she could of had half of sip of a beer and it could be fabricated to ( and drinking )… How about the age of the drivers , maybe they took their daily medication.. ( under the Influence )..just saying..Maybe because of their age , they had lousy eyesight and poor reflexes and the women was plowed down due to their poor judgement.. So much speculation. Lets just say a Pray for all involved and hope this doesn’t happen again .

  35. Donald Trump's Tiny Fingers says:

    “Friday Dispositions Simple assault – domestic violence – Tamera L. Pizzo, 54, 603-20th St. NW, enroll in 24/7 state sobriety program for one year, $300 fine, $25 court fee, 30 days suspended.”

  36. Cali-friend says:

    Tammy was my friend…at one time my co-worker. She was bright, funny, kind and self-effacing. She leaves behind a teenage son, whom she deeply loved and a lot of people like me who are brokenhearted over her loss. I pray for her family and the gentleman who hit her. None of us was there… we don’t know the circumstances, so I’m not sure that our rush to judgement (of either party, is fair). Rest in peace my friend.

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