NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) – A woman was fatally struck by a garbage truck in Chelsea Wednesday morning, as she ran to save her beloved dog.
As CBS 2’s Steve Langford reported, the confused little dog named Violet was left on the sidewalk only a few feet away from her owner’s body lying in the middle of 15th Street. The body of Jackie Haeflinger, 58, was lying next to a garbage truck that rolled over and crushed her as she attempted to stop her dog from running under the truck.
The incident took place at around 10 a.m. on 15th Street at Seventh Avenue, EMS officials said.
Haeflinger was walking Violet when it got off its leash. Violet, an 8-year-old Boston Terrier, ran into the street as the garbage truck was backing up.
“It just happened so fast. I’m like, I’m getting off my bike, and then turned. She’s reaching trying to grab her dog and she’s under the truck before you know it, and it was done,” witness Ed Sanders told Langford.
Another sanitation worker attempted to stop the accident, Sanders said.
“The driver didn’t know she was there. The co-driver was trying to stop him and everything, and yelling at him and everything, but he didn’t hear her, because of the engine I guess, and before you know it, it was too late,” Sanders said.
Haeflinger’s friends were in shock.
“We’ve been friends for 35 years,” Haeflinger’s friend Robert Gioria said before turning around and putting his head in his hands.
But friends knew nonetheless that Haeflinger would have done anything to save her dog.
“She loved that dog, but that dog was crazy,” Gioria said. “Wild, you know, she would run. She would pull her down the street.”
Violet is fine, 1010 WINS’ Carol D’Auria reported.
“You do what you have to to watch your dog; you’re not thinking of yourself,” Barbara Edelstein, who walks Violet every afternoon, told D’Auria.
Violet was staying with a neighbor Wednesday evening.
Haeflinger worked for New York University in its events office. Her friends said she had just returned from a trip to the NYU campus in Dubai.
“She was a devoted, long-time member of the NYU community whom many of us — myself included — knew well and admired for not only for her hard work and exacting standards but for her commitment to make every NYU event warm, gracious, and memorable for students, families, and faculty,” read a statement by Philip Lentz, Director of Public Affairs at NYU. “Her family and loved ones are in our prayers. We are all coming to terms with the sudden news. We shall miss her.”
And on the quiet street where Haeflinger always walked her dog, residents and workers were deeply saddened by the horror of what happened to their friendly neighbor.
“It’s heartbreaking knowing that we’ll no longer see her face around here,” a neighbor said.
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