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I would think that dragging a bike underneath a car might make some rather unusual noise. And at 5:30 am there's not a lot of other noise to mask the sound of a bike grinding on the pavement underneath her car. So even if she wasn't impaired, she had to be pretty darn clueless.

According to media, the cyclist made the mistake of riding without bright or reflective clothing, a huge mistake. However, I saw nothing about lights. Wearing several powerful lights are even better than bright or reflective clothing. Did she have lights?

The driver hit the cyclist hard enough to wedge a bike under her car and did not think to stop and see what was under her car? Each bump she drover over would impact the car and push the bike up higher. I have a very hard time believing the driver's story. A very hard time.

No reason to absolve the driver yet. The police should check her cell records and then talk to anyone she spoke with.

But the lesson is cyclists should wear bright clothing and lights at night.

Were I the cops, I would be mighty suspicious of Littleford's story. Just from looking at the video, I very much doubt that any reasonable person would have driven away -- the car is heavily damaged, it has a blown front tire, and it has a bicycle wedged under it for crying out loud. I wonder whether Littleford (a) wasn't really the driver, or (b) had someone (or something) in the car that she needed to ditch.

+1 michajoh. No reasonable person would have continued to drive such a heavily damaged car without having examined it first.

Nice how the reporter manage to lob in the suggestion that bike "being in the roadway" is an issue. Where else do you expect the bike to be?

i ride all over pg county. the cops are more clueless there than in dc. the roads throughout are brutally bad. the developments are predominately african- american mirror-copies of what goes in all-white prince william and fairfax counties in virginia: bowie, for ex, is as retarded when it comes to planning and quality of life, and as much of a car/suburban-monoculture, as Vienna or Herndon, etc.. the B and A trail is typical: the trail to and from nowhere!

SO...yes a cyclist was hit. big f***ing deal. i feel for her. but pg police dont enforce the speed limits. pg county is not a place to ride unless you ride on the biggest roads with the big shoulders (rt 212, 4, etc.) -- these are roads maryland cites as their bike routes!!! -- just because they have big shoulders, not because theyre nice or have many bike infrastructure!!
(try riding to philadelhia -- rdie dwon rt 40 the pulaski highway -- ugly!! car centric, but an official bike route -- until you get to havre de grace and cannto cross the bridge because it is car only!! and the ony crossing is on route 372 50 miles north in lancaster county!!! unbelievable.

it's simply embarassing to be an american at this historical point...

To be fair to the driver, if I thought I hit a deer at 530am, when it is still dark, I might not notice the damage to the car nor might I want to give a detailed look over on the side of a highway for fear of being hit myself.

The lack of reflective clothing is a red herring to me. Was she wearing lights is the more important question, since reflectors only work from certain angles.

What is wrong with people? You think you hit a deer, your car is completely smashed up, and you just keep on going without really checking things out? I find it hard to believe that you could stop and actually look at that damage and 1) not see the bicycle or 2) think it was OK to just drive home.

I'm not sure there's something fishy going on here, but it sounds like she's not telling the truth about stopping and checking the damage.

@JeffB: Why, there's a perfectly good sidewalk right over there to ride on! JK

Sad story. I, too, doubt the driver's story. Who wouldn't stop if they ran into something?! You "think it was a deer"? Unless you know for damn sure, you better check to see what exactly you hit. Last I checked, deer don't have metal skeletons or make grinding noises when dragged beneath cars.

Very sad story. Hard to believe with that kind of damage and a blown tire that a driver would not stop. The bike dragging underneath must have also made quite a racket.

Sounds like a massive case of windshield perspective. You know, roads are for cars not people. No reason to expect people around a road. So it must have been a deer.

@when can i move to italy?

I agree PG county is behind on accommodating cyclists and enforcement of traffic laws is non-existent.

I live in Bowie. It is not too bad for biking. There are trails that get me to the park, the farmer market, and the grocery store. The B&A connects Annapolis to Baltimore. Perhaps you meant the WB&A. I use it to get to work. So it does go to and from somewhere to me. I realize this is not true for everyone.

I agree it is hard to believe. Sort of depends on how far away one was from their home.

Apparently the driver was 3 miles from home. I can completely understand why she would drive home if she thought she hit a deer. One question: what was the DRIVER doing out that early? Was she coming home from a party and perhaps tired?

It's premature to assume that the bike didn't have lights or reflectors at the time of the collision. Neither article makes that claim -- just that the victim wasn't wearing reflective clothing (which isn't required). It's hard to believe that much of anything was still attached to the bike after being dragged under an SUV for three miles. The only witness is the driver -- and it's a stretch to call her a witness because she apparently saw nothing.

Natasha Pettigrew died.

So utterly and terribly sad. My heart goes out to her mother and all her other family and friends.

I usually ride my motorcycle when I need to get around, but this weekend I had to drive a big SUV to move some stuff. I was appalled to find out just how little you can see when you're driving one those vehicles. The blind spots are big enough to fit large vehicles, much less bicycles. I can't imagine why anyone would want to drive one of those things on a daily basis.

Channel Nine says that their reporting staff found pieces of reflective plastic (possibly from a belt Pettigrew's mother says she routinely wore) and a reflective sneaker at the scene:

"Police say initial reports had not found any reflective clothing or materials near the crime scene or on Pettigrew. Kenniss Henry, the victim's mother, says her daughter would never ride her bike without her helmet, reflective belt and sneakers. 9NEWS NOW 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."

One is left to wonder how carefully the police surveyed the scene. The Channel Nine story appears at this link:

http://www.wusa9.com/rss/local_article.aspx?storyid=112106

Judging from the video she appears to have been hit near the left of the front bumper. The right front tire is flat. Makes me wonder whether the driver went off the right side of the road and hit her.

It's interesting that the police officer reported what happened from the driver's account as fact. That is, he didn't say "the driver claims..." before he described the collision.

Ms. Pettigrew's mother is amazingly calm in the video.

How sad.

SUVs are great people-haulers and wonderful for long-distance/family drives.

One demographic correction:

>i ride all over pg county. the cops are more clueless there than in dc. the roads throughout are brutally bad. the developments are predominately african- american mirror-copies of what goes in all-white prince william and fairfax counties in virginia<<

Prince William, where I live, is pretty diverse; only about half the overall population is non-Hispanic whites according to the ten-year-old census, and I expect that figure to decline this time around.

Very sad story. As told, yes, hard to believe. If nothing else I think I would know I had a flat tire and I'd be freaking about damaging a rim that way.

This is why you stop when you hit something and don't know what it is. If the driver had stopped and been able to call 911 right away, Pettigrew might not have died. This whole story is disturbing on so many levels...

According to MDOT's web site 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.

It's pretty unbelievable that someone would not stop and get out of their car after an accident like this, unless they were drunk.

Since she called the police right away, one must assume that they did a breathalyzer or otherwise determined that she wasn't drunk.

I bet her husband was driving the car, drunk, and she is taking the fall for him.

The strange thing is in another story the woman takes nearly 4 hrs to discover the bike wedged under the car and only calls police after that fact. One wonders if she thought she hit a dog or deer she would have looked as soon as she arrived home or had her husband look right away. Or maybe she had to sober up before she called??
What a tragedy for that young woman . . . the story sounds like she was found before too many hours but how and where? I hope she can be a message in death for better laws and a damn higher regard for bicyclists by the motoring community since she was prevented from sharing her political message in life.
RIP Natasha . . .
a fellow Green

Very tragic. And I agree that the driver's story is strange, but I'm not sure how sinister the whole thing is. After all, if she has that much to hide, why call the police at all?

From the thread it occurs to me that another way to get at the state and how the local jurisdictional police depts. deal with bike issues generally and accidents specifically is to deal with the Maryland Highway Safety Office.

It is the unit tasked by the Federal Highway Administration to address road safety issues, including bike and ped.

http://www.sha.maryland.gov/Index.aspx?pageid=6

contact:

(Montgomery & Prince George’s Counties)
Ms. Dana Gigliotti
SHA – District 3
9300 Kenilworth Ave.
Greenbelt, Md. 20770
(p) 301-513-7472
(f) 301-513-7473
dgigliotti@sha.state.md.us
Ms. Christina Sinz
Csinz@sha.state.md.us

Leaving the scene, REGARDLESS of the reason, should be a crime. I was hit once while jogging and the driver fled. It was only after he thought I may have been able to get his plate (he was right) that he called the police and claimed he "might" have hit someone. As I was uninjured, the driver wasn't even given a ticket (I was hit IN a cross walk with the right of way). Until our legislatures start writing statutes that include serious, mandatory punishments, drivers will continue to kill without consequences. This won't happen, of course, because whenever they try they get significant pushback from the public. People suck.

A young woman was in the community college parking lot near where Pettigrew was hit and stayed with her until the police and ambulance got there : http://www.myfoxdc.com/dpp/news/maryland/green-party-candidate-struck-on-bike-by-suv-dies-092110

every time I read that there is a pedestrian or cyclist death that's in the suburbs, I check to see if it happened near the intersection of a cloverleaf highway exit and a shopping mall. Because 9 times out of 10, that's exactly where it happened.

Guess what - rt.214 & rt. 202 cloverleaf at the Kettering/Largo shopping center is the next intersection over. and 95/495 w/ 202 is the next intersection over from that. Imagine that!

Putting a shopping mall next to a cloverleaf is aparently a cyclist/pedestrian machine of death.

What a tremendous loss for all of us. She was an amazing, strong, brilliant woman with such a vibrant life ahead.

she just got home from partying, she was definitely visibly drunk when she left the party. she is lying, will not get away with murder. This is TRUE, RIP to the victim. This "Mrs. Littleford" will answer to GOD. I hope her and her lying husband read this.

i need the police to do their jobs for once, no blood alcohol drawn? did she refuse? I guess she went home to clean up from her whole early am partying.

righteousness is on the side of the righteous.

Anonymous, if you have information you think will be useful to the investigation, I hope you will contact the police. Simply posting it here doesn't help anyone, and invites trouble for Washcycle.

I am heart broken over this. I just wrote an article two weeks ago about the need for all of us to take every precaution when we are on our bikes. It only takes a second to become distracted when driving and we are cyclists should everything we can to make ourselves more visible. That being said, I can't imagine how horrible it would feel to know you have taken another person's life whether you are wholly or just partly to fault.

Let me just first say that the people who know and love Natasha could be reading this... I am one first things first This woman who ran over my dear friend should be more than ashamed. There is no way she could have driven her car that far without realising that the bike was there... I should not judge because that is up to god however I will as a friend I know Natasha and have known her for years and what the world lost is something that will never be replaced ... It can't!!! If you are reading this feel a sense of loss because you didn't get to know her! Let your words be sesitive of her mother and last DO NOT FORGET THAT SHE IS THE VICTIM!!!She lost her life!!! Her Mother lost her daughter and I lost my best friend!!! Do not justify what this woman did or shall I say didn't do!!!

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