PASCO COUNTY (FOX13) - A fatal accident on Moon Lake Road claimed the life of a 17-year-old girl on Friday night. Her 14-year-old friend was also injured.
Marie Elizabeth Pizzino, 17, and Chris Broffman, 14, both of New Port Richey, were walking southbound on the side of Moon Lake Road around 9 p.m. Friday. They were returning to their apartment complex, less than a mile away, after buying snacks at a nearby Winn-Dixie.
A car hit Pizzino from behind, according to the Florida State Highway Patrol.
"One minute you're with your friend. The next minute, she's on the ground, dead or dying," said Broffman, as he recalled the incident from the crash site on Saturday.
"I heard the car coming, I went in the grass, and then I got hit by something, which I am 90 percent sure was [Marie's] body," said Broffman.
Pizzino was walking closest to the roadway, according to Broffman, when the headlights of a 2014 Ford Focus hit her.
The driver, 24-year-old Paige Milhollen, immediately turned her car around and came back to check on the teens. Another driver stopped to assist them as well, calling 911, but by the time paramedics arrived Pizzino was pronounced dead.
Broffman and Milhollen were taken to Bayonet Point Hospital with minor injuries.
Pizzino was a junior at River Ridge High School in New Port Richey. Her family said she recently moved from Hernando County, where she lived with her father, to New Port Richey to live closer to her mother and younger sister.
They said Pizzino was an outgoing teenager who loved to dance, specifically jazz dance.
"I've known her for a couple of months, but I only just started becoming friends with her this past week, and I could tell in that week she was a good person. She was a well-liked person," said Broffman.
River Ridge High School principal, Toni Zetzsche, released a statement on the school's Facebook page Saturday that read:
"It is with great sadness that I share the following information. Two of our students were struck by a car last night while walking on Moon Lake Rd. One student, Christopher Broffman who is in 9th grade at RRHS was injured and is currently hospitalized. A second student Marie Pizzino, an 11th grader at RRHS, was also struck by the vehicle and she did not survive. As you can imagine, this is terribly difficult for both families and for RRHS staff and students. Please keep them in your thoughts and prayers. As we get additional information, we will share it."
State troopers say Millhollen was not intoxicated at the time of the crash.
Neighbors living across the street said a lack of street lights makes the stretch of roadway a dangerous area for pedestrians.
The cause of the accident is unclear, and charges are pending.
According to Pizzino's family, she is an organ donor. They found out on Saturday morning that her corneas are a match for someone in need.