“He was such a wonderful, sweet kid,” said aunt
A memorial to Peter Genovese was set up at the Walmart in Jasper where he worked.
A 19-year-old-year who had bought a one-way ticket to Jasper to make a better life for himself, was struck by a car and killed walking home from work last week.
Peter Genovese had been here about six months before the tragic May 10th accident on North Main which claimed his life two days later.
“It was around Thanksgiving when he came,” said aunt Lydia Marsicek, who lives in Pickens County. “He was such a wonderful kid. He was quiet, but once you got to know him he was just goofy and funny, and a hard worker. He was the oldest of all his siblings so he always had to be the responsible one.”
It was late Monday night, May 10 when Genovese was struck by a passing vehicle while walking home from his shift at Walmart. The driver called 911 after the accident and has not been charged. The incident occurred on North Main Street between Old Philadelphia Road and Hood Road around 10:30 p.m.
Genovese was life flighted to Kennestone where he died Wednesday morning, having suffered catastrophic brain injuries, the aunt said.
The driver of the vehicle was also 19 years old, the same age at Genovese. Because he has not been charged, the Progress is not publishing the driver’s name.
Tragically, Genovese was working at Walmart to save for down payment on a car- his favorite, a Dodge Challenger. He didn’t get his license until he moved to Jasper.
“Where he lived in Florida you could pretty much walk everywhere you needed,” the aunt said.
In Jasper, Genovese would walk 2.5 miles each way to get to Walmart, five miles a day, and also had a second job at one point to save money.
“We would pass him on the road walking sometimes and ask if he wanted a ride,” Marsicek said choking back tears, “but he would always say no. He never wanted to bother anyone or put them out. He wanted to make it on his own, not looking for any handouts. It’s been hard on his parents, because his brother died seven years ago due to drowning; he was an autistic child.”
Genovese was enrolled at Chattahoochee Technical College, and dreamed of playing basketball in college.
“He was a Christian and in that we take comfort knowing we will see him again. We are so thankful for the many prayers, calls, and messages of condolence we have received from our friends, church family, and Peter’s Walmart family,” Marsicek said in a written statement.
A memorial was set up at the inside entrance of Walmart. A sign placed beside a flower arrangement and a photograph of Genovese says, “In loving memory, you will forever be in our hearts.”
His aunt said the family “opted for giving life through organ donation. As of now, we were told he was able to save seven people and spare their families the pain we have experienced. Our family will deeply miss his kind, sweet spirit, and gentle smile.”
The recent pedestrian incident has reignited efforts of Mt. Zion Baptist Church Pastor Ben Mock to make that stretch of North Main Street in front of his church and into downtown Jasper safer. Following a fatal crash in 2012 and several other accidents in that area, the pastor launched efforts to lower the speed limit and add a stop sign to the intersection of Old Philadelphia Road and North Main nearly a decade ago. He gathered hundreds of petition signatures, but kept hitting brick walls with county leadership at the time, he said.
“The speed limit is already 35 miles per hour on South Main Street and Refuge Road,” Mock said. “I don’t understand why it can’t be reduced on North Main.”
The current speed limit is 45 m.p.h.
“When that speed limit was created there wasn’t anything along that stretch. Now it’s just as busy as South Main with the church and businesses,” he said.
The pastor has already met with Pickens County Commission Chair Kris Stancil to discuss his requests for improved safety measures, Mock told the Progress.