Woman, 59, is killed in St. Paul hit-and-run

She was struck crossing University Avenue Wednesday morning. A 45-year-old man was arrested that evening.

The 59-year-old woman lay motionless on a University Avenue median, struck with enough force to be tossed across a full lane of traffic, and Jennifer Macaulay was hugging her, trying to assure her everything would be OK.

Within three hours, however, the woman was dead.

And by evening, St. Paul police had arrested a 45-year-old St. Paul man suspected of hitting the woman and then fleeing the morning rush-hour scene.

On University Avenue just east of Fairview Avenue, the cars fly by one after another, area workers said Wednesday. Frequently seen, too, they added, are the jaywalkers.

The victim, whose name had yet to be released Wednesday, tried to cross University Avenue at a spot without a crosswalk, and about 50 paces from the intersection at Fairview Avenue where there are stoplights and walk signals.

Macaulay, 33, who witnessed the accident, said "there was no way [the driver] couldn't have seen her -- and they didn't even stop."

Though authorities declined to identify the victim, pending notification of relatives, police spokesman Tom Walsh said Wednesday that she worked in the area.

Of the decision to cross the street where she did, he added: "It was cold."

The National Weather Service reported that at 7:53 a.m., about the time the accident occurred, the temperature in St. Paul was minus 9 degrees.

Later Wednesday, looking back at the accident, Macaulay said, "I've been worried about it all day. ... I just want to know her name."

At the time of the incident, she said, she was headed to her teaching job at the University of Minnesota Law School.

When the woman was hit, Macaulay stopped her vehicle, she said, and pulled a sleeping bag from her trunk to cover her.

The victim's body, she said, was badly mangled, with arms and legs "facing in the wrong direction."

People tried CPR, Macaulay said, and the woman's eyes seemed to open for a bit. But she was pronounced dead at Regions Hospital about 10:30 a.m.

About noon, Joyce Berreth, of St. Paul, and Shirley Weintz, of Minneapolis, were looking out at University Avenue from behind a table at Hotel Furniture Liquidators, 1800 University Ave., where they work.

"It's a busy street -- busy all the time," Weintz said.

"It's a scary street," Berreth said.

A couple could be seen jaywalking as they spoke.

Next door, at an Arby's restaurant, a man showed a cell phone video he made of efforts to revive the woman.

During the 59-second video, a total of 15 vehicles passed by the median in the eastbound lanes where the woman was struck.

Charges against the suspect are pending.

Police are also looking into whether there might have been passengers in the hit-and-run vehicle.

pwalsh@startribune.com • 612-673-4482 alonetree@startribune.com • 651-298-1545

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