Family loses husband and father

Drunk driving is suspected in a pizza deliveryman's death.

Staff WriterNovember 30, 2005 

About 11:30 p.m. Saturday, Frank Machita had just dropped off a pizza and decided to give his wife, Diane, a call.

Ten minutes later, a suspected intoxicated driver on Old Greensboro Highway outside of Carrboro hit Machita's car head on and killed the 39-year-old Durham resident instantly, according to the state Highway Patrol.

In a flash, the accident ended the life of a passionate, smart, funny and loving husband and father who had big dreams but wasn't above doing what some considered demeaning work for a college graduate.

The other driver, Paul Wyatt Holloway, 27, of 1419 Ford Road, Lot 12, Chapel Hill, likely will face charges relating to Machita's death, Trooper N.A. Mitchell said over the weekend.

The Machitas met in Pennsylvania when they both worked as telemarketers.

"It was love at first sight," Diane Machita said in an interview Tuesday. "I gave out a wolf whistle -- and he heard it."

They moved to North Carolina in 1998, choosing the Triangle because Frank wanted to go to law school, and the area's economy seemed to be doing well.

"And then life started happening," Diane Machita said. "Our five-year goal went down the toilet."

The couple was raising Diane Machita's two stepchildren, she said, and about a year and a half ago Frank got work at Chanello's Pizza as a delivery driver because the hours were flexible, letting him spend time with the kids when Diane worked late.

Machita was meticulous in his work but very funny also.

"I look forward to when Frank is closing with me at night," said A.J. Huffman, the president of Chanello's, on Jones Ferry Road. "He knows what to do, and he's joking around and everything."

Frank spun his comedy with observations of the things around him.

During the couple's honeymoon in the Poconos, Machita did a routine that got the patrons laughing. The next night, the professional stand-up comedian couldn't make it because of an Easter snowstorm, and Machita was asked to step in.

"He would just come up with stupid stuff about life, ... and he would have you on the floor," Diane Machita said.

Saturday's accident wasn't the first time his delivery job turned dangerous. Last year, he got robbed at gunpoint, Diane Machita said.

Just like Saturday night, Frank Machita constantly called Diane between deliveries and even borrowed other people's phones when he didn't have one on him.

"The last thing we said was we loved each other. I told him to be careful," she said.

"I'm grateful for that."

Staff writer Jessica Rocha can be reached at 932-2008 or jessica.rocha@newsobserver.com.

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