Natasha Pettigrew, the 30 year old Green Party nominee for the U.S. Senate, died late Monday night, after being hit by a Cadillac Escalade during and early Sunday morning bike ride. Pettigrew was hit traveling south on Route 202 near the intersection with Campus Way.
The driver, Christy R. Littleford, 41, claims that she thought she hit a deer or a dog and did not stop. However a witness says that she saw the SUV stop and pull over. It was not until reaching home that she realized she had hit a cyclist and she called the police. According to the police, the crash happened at 5:30 am and that she called the police some time before 6:30 am.
Initially it did not appear that Pettigrew was wearing reflective clothing or lights. But her mother claims that she always rode with reflective gear and a News9 team found "found pieces of reflective plastic just a few feet from the accident scene as well as a reflective sneaker which Pettigrew's mother identified as the victim's."
Police say they needed to extract the bike from underneath the Escalade's frame to retrieve any additional evidence.
The witness claimed she saw sparks and smoke flying from it as it slowly drove away.
A candlelight vigil will take place at 6 p.m. Friday at the accident site, Henry said. Her daughter was an avid runner, swimmer and cyclist, and she had long complained about the lack of designated bike lanes. Henry said she hopes her daughter's death can draw attention to that need.
The Green Party has not decided if will find a replacement candidate or not, and if so, who.
The videos from WUSA and FOX are below the fold.
While this is scary and sad and can make one angry. I think it's important not to get ahead of the facts. I can believe the driver didn't see her (which doesn't mean that she wasn't visible). And I can believe she thought she hit an animal - it doesn't sound like she got out of the car. And that she drove home with the bike scraping the ground - perhaps she thought it was her bumper. She may have not been thinking straight with the adrenalin and fear. It's shocking on its face, but it's not impossible.
Speculation that someone was drunk or that there was a cover-up are just that - idle speculation. Some have claimed there was a four hour gap between the collision and Littleford calling the police, but so far I can't find a source for that. If Littleford wanted to get away with a crime, the easiest thing to do would have been to just not call the police. So many fatal hit and run drivers get away with it.
Before we label the driver a murderer, let's wait for more facts.
Meanwhile, the police should really just stop saying anything other than "we're investigating." As a commenter wrote
Janet Harrison represents the Maryland State Police on the state's bike-ped advisory committee. Perhaps it would be a good idea for people to express their concerns to her, and ask what the State Police plans to do to correct their repeated tendency to issue preliminary statements that either criticize a dead cyclist or defend the killer before the investigation is even complete.