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Bill Giannini, former Shelby County GOP chairman, killed in wreck

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Bill Giannini, the former deputy commissioner of Tennessee Department of Commerce and Insurance and former chairman of the Republican Party of Shelby County, was killed in a car crash.

The Republican Party of Shelby County posted the news on their website Thursday night.

The Tennessee Highway Patrol says Giannini was travelling between Memphis and Nashville on Thursday afternoon when he crashed on Interstate 40 in Decatur County.

Officials say he was driving eastbound on I-40 when his vehicle crossed through the median into the westbound lanes.

The driver of the other vehicle was injured in the crash, and it is unknown what his condition is.

Republican Party of Shelby County Chairman Lee Mills released a statement on Giannini’s death:

“Bill was an outstanding invididual and we have many fond memories of him. I will personally remember his enthusiasm, his quick wit and his infectious smile.

Bill’s work as Chairman of the Republican Party of Shelby County laid the groundwork for many of the successes we see today.

Our heartfelt condolences go out to his family during this difficult time.”

Rep. David Kustoff sent his condolences Friday:

“I am deeply saddened to learn of the passing of my friend Bill Giannini,” said Congressman Kustoff. “From his time as Chairman of the Republican Party of Shelby County to Deputy Commissioner for Governor Haslam, Bill was a strong voice for the Volunteer State. We will never forget his humor and unmatched positivity. ”

Giannini was the founder and former owner of Little Italy Pizza on Union Avenue.

In 2012, Giannini was behind the wheel in a crash on I-40 that took the life of an 8-year-old boy near the Fayette County line. Giannini’s vehicle hit the back of a car, which was among many stopped for a crash down the road.

Giannini was not charged in that wreck.