Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Mom of man killed in hit-and-run says driver who returned should never have left

TAMPA — A 20-year-old woman might avoid charges that she fled the scene of a fatal hit-and-run accident because she returned an hour later, but that doesn't satisfy the mother of the man who died.

"She made a terrible mistake, and somebody died," Ethel Braunsdorf said. "If she'd have just stayed there, between the accident and when the cops and ambulance came, it might have saved him."

Amanda Bentz returned to the scene with her father after driving away in shock, her father told the St. Petersburg Times on Monday.

Billy Leedan Ivy, 42, of 7015 N Dakota Ave. was dead before she returned. There was no crosswalk where deputies believe Ivy was walking.

Braunsdorf, who moved from Tampa to Tennessee three years ago, said she had a strange feeling that night before hearing about what happened to her son.

"You know how you get a feeling that something's happened?" she said. Then she got a call from her son's ex-wife. There had been an accident.

"Billy was a great kid. He was a great guy," his mother said. But he did have his troubles.

Braunsdorf said her son wasn't the type who could have just a couple of drinks. For the past five years, he had been attending Alcoholics Anonymous meetings, trying to move on from past mistakes.

Ivy was arrested 30 times since 1987 on charges including theft, battery, driving under the influence and probation violations, records show. His most recent arrest was in 2007, on misdemeanor charges of trespassing and possession of an open container.

Ivy's mother said he was trying to turn things around. "The AA says, 'Today is the first day of your life,' " Braunsdorf said.

Her son was more than his faults, she said. He was a professional painter who loved fishing, wrote poems, played guitar and sang. His poetry and songs helped him work through his issues with alcohol, she said.

Monday would have been Ivy's 43rd birthday. His mother hasn't quite accepted how he died. She can't believe Bentz was so shaken that she couldn't stop.

The crash investigation continues, and Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office spokesman Larry McKinnon said it will be a couple of weeks before all the evidence is processed. Then prosecutors will decide whether Bentz should be charged.

A few years ago, Braunsdorf said, she and her husband hit a deer while driving. She remembers the broken glass, the thud, the shock. "And we stayed right there until they came and picked that deer up," Braunsdorf said.

She said she doesn't feel vindictive toward Bentz. "I just want her to understand that she has done something," she said.

Kim Wilmath can be reached at or (813) 226-3386.

Mom of man killed in hit-and-run says driver who returned should never have left 03/09/10 [Last modified: Tuesday, March 9, 2010 11:51pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. In advertising, marketing diversity needs a boost in Tampa Bay, nationally


    TAMPA — Trimeka Benjamin was focused on a career in broadcast journalism when she entered Bethune-Cookman University.

    From left, Swim Digital marketing owner Trimeka Benjamin discusses the broad lack of diversity in advertising and marketing with 22 Squared copywriter Luke Sokolewicz, University of Tampa advertising/PR professor Jennifer Whelihan, Rumbo creative director George Zwierko and Nancy Vaughn of the White Book Agency. The group recently met at The Bunker in Ybor City.
  2. Kushner to testify before two intelligence committees


    WASHINGTON— President Donald Trump's senior adviser and son-in-law Jared Kushner is set to make a second appearance on Capitol Hill — he will speak with the House Intelligence Committee on Tuesday, one day after he is scheduled to speak with Senate Intelligence Committee investigators behind closed doors.

    White House senior adviser Jared Kushner is scheduled to testify before the Senate Intelligence Committee and the House Intelligence Committee. [Associated Press]
  3. Rays blow lead in ninth, lose in 10 to Rangers (w/video)

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — Rays manager Kevin Cash liked the way Alex Cobb was competing Friday night. He liked the way the hard contact made by the Rangers batters went away after the second or third inning. So as the game headed toward the ninth, there was no doubt in Cash's mind that sending Cobb back to the mound was …

    Rays starter Alex Cobb can hardly believe what just happened as he leaves the game in the ninth after allowing a leadoff double then a tying two-run homer to the Rangers’ Shin-Soo Choo.
  4. Exhumation of Dalí's remains finds his mustache still intact


    FIGUERES, Spain — Forensic experts in Spain have removed hair, nails and two long bones from Salvador Dalí's embalmed remains to aid a court-ordered paternity test that may enable a woman who says she is the surrealist artist's daughter to claim part of Dalí's vast estate.

    Salvador Dal? died in 1989 leaving vast estate.
  5. Sessions discussed Trump campaign-related matters with Russian ambassador, U.S. intelligence intercepts show


    WASHINGTON — Russia's ambassador to Washington told his superiors in Moscow that he discussed campaign-related matters, including policy issues important to Moscow, with Jeff Sessions during the 2016 presidential race, contrary to public assertions by the embattled attorney general, current and former U.S. …

    Attorney General Jeff Sessions recused himself from the Russia investigation after meetings with an ambassador were revealed.