SAN DIEGO (CNS) - A pedestrian suffered fatal injuries Wednesday when a utility company truck struck her on a Shelltown-area road, possibly as she chased a young girl who darted into the path of the vehicle.
The San Diego Gas & Electric pickup struck the woman in the 3900 block of Cottonwood Street shortly after at 7:30 a.m. in the community just north of National City, according to police.
The victim, identified by relatives and neighbors as 37-year-old Ana Herrera Rodriguez, was pinned beneath the Chevrolet Colorado until a group of witnesses managed to lift the truck off of her. An ambulance crew took her to UCSD Medical Center, where she was pronounced dead.
The four- and five-year-old girls, the younger one Herrera's daughter, were treated at Rady Children's Hospital for minor injuries, including abrasions. It was not immediately clear if they also had been struck by the vehicle or might have simply fallen.
The accident occurred just after the 55-year-old SDG&E employee turned onto the street from an alley and began heading east at moderate speed, SDPD public-affairs Officer Ed Zwibel said.
A witness told officers that Herrera may have been hit while trying to catch one of the preschoolers and get her out of the roadway, Zwibel said.
The fact that the utility worker was driving into the morning sun could have played a role in the accident, Lt. Darryl Hoover told reporters.
The following is a statement released Wednesday from SDG&E regarding the accident:
"A San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E) employee was involved in a tragic accident this morning that took the life of a woman in San Diego. The driver was on duty and driving a company vehicle. The circumstances of this accident are under investigation and SDG&E is cooperating fully with authorities.
This is a devastating accident and our hearts and prayers go out to the family of the victim. Safety is at the foundation of who we are as a company - from initial employee training to the construction, operation and maintenance of our facilities and the service provided to our customers. We are holding a safety stand down with employees to underscore our commitment to employee and public safety."