A man who was accused of killing the beloved dancing flamingo, Pinky, has died after being hit by a truck.
Joseph Corrao, 48, sparked outrage in 2016 when he allegedly caused the death of the popular Busch Gardens flamingo after he violently threw the animal to the ground.
Just two months before his trial over the incident was due to start, Corrao was fatally struck by a pickup truck on June 5 while crossing a busy road near his home in Orlando.
A crash report says the 48-year-old was walking north across State Road 50 shortly before 6am, as reported by Tampa Bay Times. A Ford F-150 pickup truck was reportedly heading east when it hit him.
Emergency responders took Corrao to Florida Hospital East, where he died. The truck driver, who was uninjured, was not named in the report, and an investigation of the collision is continuing.
The man gained notoriety in August 2016, when he visited the Busch Gardens amusement park with his mother and daughters. Upon entering the Jambo Junction animal viewing area, officials say Corrao picked up 15-year-old Pinky and threw her to the ground.
As reported by the New York Post, the Chilean flamingo suffered extensive injuries, with the incident resulting in one of her legs nearly being severed.
As a result, the flamingo – who was one of the theme park’s animal ambassadors – had to be euthanised. Corrao later told authorities he was just trying to show off to his daughter, claiming he didn’t mean to injure the bird.
He apologised when he learned she had to be euthanised, however was charged with animal cruelty before being jailed for five days and then released on bail.
Corrao had previously been arrested on felony animal cruelty charges for shooting his neighbour’s two dogs, WTSP reports, as per the New York Post.
His public defender had reportedly raised concerns about Corrao’s mental health, with a judge ordering two psychologists to examine him before trial.
As per the Tampa Bay Times, court records show one psychologist found he suffered from a combination of PTSD, bipolar disorder, and schizophrenia. The other agreed with the schizophrenia diagnosis, with both saying he wasn’t competent to proceed to trial.
The judge ordered Corrao to undergo in-home competency restoration training, as well as ordering him to abstain from drinking alcohol and to continue taking his medication.
He was declared competent in March and a trial date was set for August, just two months after he was fatally hit.
After his death, prosecutors filed a formal notice saying they had dropped the criminal charge against him.
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A Broadcast Journalism Masters graduate who went on to achieve an NCTJ level 3 Diploma in Journalism, Lucy has done stints at ITV, BBC Inside Out and Key 103. While working as a journalist for UNILAD, Lucy has reported on breaking news stories while also writing features about mental health, cervical screening awareness, and Little Mix (who she is unapologetically obsessed with).