NORTH PORT – Two people, one of whom was later identified as a TV news reporter, were killed in a motorcycle crash Saturday afternoon in North Port, police report.
According to the North Port Police Department, at about 4 p.m. a BMW motorcycle left the road and crashed into a tree at Plantation and Panacea boulevards.
The 30-year-old driver, identified by WINK-TV as Cody Bunch, was pronounced dead at the scene.
The 26-year-old passenger, identified by Waterman Broadcasting as Jenny Lenzini, a reporter for NBC2 and ABC7, was hospitalized with critical injuries and later died.
Both Bunch and Lenzini were wearing motorcycle helmets. The crash remains under investigation and North Port police has been attempting to contact both families.
“This Is just an awful thing, the whole way around,” said Tim Klutsarits, assistant news director at NBC-2/ABC-7. “They had so much more in their lives to live, both of them, and this is such a tragedy.”
Klutsarits hired Lenzini to work in the Charlotte County bureau for the two Waterman Broadcasting-owned stations as she was finishing a contract at KITV4, a dual NBC/CW+-affiliated station out of Sioux City, Iowa, owned by Quincy Media.
According to the KITV website, Lenzini started there as a producer and worked her way up to become a multimedia journalist and later a weekend anchor.
A native of Crystal Lake, Illinois, she graduated from the University of Illinois Champaign-Urbana – the same school as one of her colleagues in Fort Myers, Claire Lavezzorio.
Klutsarits said she saw great potential in her work in Iowa.
“She was a very bright woman, very great personality, she was a very good reporter,” Klutsarits said.
“She had only been with us since July and had already gotten her feet wet and doing all the things you need to do as a young reporter to find all the best stories,” he added. “She was very good at making contacts and finding all the news stories that were out there.”
Lenzini, who most recently was busy with field coverage on the impacts of Tropical Storm Eta, started working in Fort Myers during the COVID-19 pandemic. Among her pieces was a first-person account on the time it took to go through the testing lines at the CenturyLink Sports Complex in Fort Myers.
“I think she had massive potential in our industry. We were looking forward to coaching her and helping her to grow and helping her to achieve all the goals that she had,” Klutsarits said.