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September 21, 2010

MD Green Party candidate dies after struck by SUV

Natasha Pettigrew, the Green Party candidate aiming to unseat U.S. Sen. Barbara A. Mikulski this fall, died last night from injuries she sustained in a traffic accident in Prince George's County. The 30-year-old had been bicycling early Sunday when a sports utility vehicle struck her on southbound Route 202.

“As a party, we have never experienced a loss like this,” Brian Bittner, co-chairman of the Maryland Green Party, said in a release today.

Pettigrew was born in Maryland and has been attending the University of Miami, Bittner said, adding that her intention was to return to her home state after school. Pettigrew became interested in politics because her family had endured financial hardships -- foreclosure, student debt -- and she felt that public officials could have done more to help them, Bittner said.

She filed her candidacy for Senate to celebrate her 30th brithday, he said.

The accident occurred about 5:30 Sunday morning, said Greg Shipley, spokesman for the Maryland State Police.

Pettigrew was riding her bike southbound along Route 202, just south of Campus Way in Largo, when a 2005 Cadillac Escalade, also headed south, struck her, Shipley said.

The SUV did not stop. A severely injured Pettigrew was taken to Prince George's Hospital Center. While police were at the scene of the accident, the SUV driver, Christy R. Littleford, 41, of Upper Marlboro, called the Prince George's County Police to report that she had struck something.

Littleford told police she assumed she'd hit an animal but when she arrived home found a bicycle lodged under her vehicle, Shipley said.

Pettigrew died last night at the hospital. State Police are investigating and will forward their reports to the Prince George's County State's Attorney's Office to review whether charges should be filed.

The Green Party said funeral arrangements have not been finalized but that Pettigrew's mother, Kenniss Henry, plans to hold a memorial vigil this week.

As for the Senate race, election rules allow the Green Party to name a candidate to replace Pettigrew on the Nov. 2 ballot. The state party sais its coordinating council will make a decision on a possible replacement by early next week.

Posted by Julie Bykowicz at 3:12 PM | | Comments (35)


So let's get this right. She was 30 years old and STILL a student? That made no sense to me until I read the pathetic drivel about the financial hardships her family had encountered like foreclosure and student debt. Boohooo. Grow up. You're 30 year old. Start being accountable for yourself. Maybe if you weren't 30 years old and still in school, you could start saving money (like everyone else) to avoid foreclosure.

How in the world do you run over a bicyclist and not know it?! She thought it was an animal? This lady was either impaired or blind. She should have her license permanently suspended.

"All comments must be approved by the blog author."

And Luke's was read and approved? There's no way this reprehensible comment should have been published. This is not a free speech issue, this is just common decency.

This is truly horrible - to be left to die on the road side. Sometimes I really hate this XXXXXX country, that someone driving a XXXXXXXX Escalade murders someone on the roadside, drag their bike 4 miles and not be rotting in prison. That this person is running for Senate on the Green ticket just makes the story that much more wretched.

Luke, way to show compassion--the woman is DEAD. And you have no idea if she was *still* a student or had gone back to school to try and improve her life. Rent some perspective if you can't afford to buy it.

Can always count on the Sun talkboards for idiocy like this.

I don't normally engage in debates in the comments section, but am aghast at Luke's insensitivity. His remarks would be nasty were Pettigrew alive, but to make these comments in a story about her *death* is truly cruel.

Luke, are you kidding me?

In case you were too busy to read her biography, she attended Ohio State University earning a BS in Zoology and a BA in Criminology. She was attending University of Miami for Law School.

I'd expect a public apology from most people smearing someone (especially falsely) after their death, but I doubt we'll see one from you.

As to the excuse of the driver: I fail to understand how someone would not stop their vehicle, even if they assumed they had hit an animal.

A tragedy.


She was in law school, lot of 30 year olds go to law school

Very poor taste. For your info, a doctor thats board certified usually is finished with school around 33 here in USA so maybe you are thinking of a Trade School like ITT Tech or Strayer like where you went for 60 week course that took until you were 28 to finally finish and not graduate.
As for the family. Terrible loss. This woman should have stopped. She was on phone or speeding or drinking coffee or texting or just plain dumb. She is liable criminally for leaving scene of accident.

@Luke, FYI: she was enrolled in University of Miami law school, having completed an undergraduate degree at Ohio State, according to her campaign website.

Look everyone, the important issue here is that this so-called responsible citizen is being eulogized for the inconsequential fact of her death and not the really important fact that she was a socialist and part of the reason this country is becoming communist. You all need to wake up and smell the coffee!

@Luke, if that was the important issue, why didn't you say so at first?

I smell a troll. Or a wacko. Regardless, don't feed his game/delusion.


I thought it was tea.

You're kidding me, right? You find it more important to mouth off about what her political associations were rather than understand the fact that a human life was lost? And you call her death inconsequential? There was a consequence - she's DEAD. Way to prioritize there, Chief.

In regards to the "country becoming communist" - if you don't like the way the country is, LEAVE. No one is forcing you to live on American soil. If you deem it that bad, move to another country. There are 3 on this continent alone, or if you prefer a more "exotic" location, try one of the other 6 continents that this planet provides.

I never realized how horrible people were until I started reading some of these comments on the Sun's website. I wish Jesus would return and make things right.

Escalades are flat out horrible vehicles and should not be allowed on the road. If the visibility in your vehicle is so poor that a driver can't tell the difference between a bicyclist and an animal (not that there's any excuse for hitting an animal and not stopping), it has no business being approved for use on public roadways. At the very least, driving such a dangerous monstrosity should require a special and more expensive license than driving a regular passenger car.

Absolutely Luke. It is indeed time that we wake up and see where the Democrats and Republicans have gotten us. Its time for more options. And I certainly don't consider anyone's death inconsequential, especially someone trying to do their part to improve our situation. It is sad that you are so full of yourself that you consider this death inconsequential.


Have you no sense of decency? We are talking about a real human being and a tragic event. This is not about politics -- even though she was a political candidate. It's about a real person who died. I am stunned by the depth of your callousness.

A young woman who graduates from high school with honors, double majors in college and enrolls in law schools likely knows the value of hard work. She sounds like a self-made woman from a low-income background.
That makes her a socialist?

A woman, evidently practicing what she preaches by riding her bike as a means of transportation getting run over by an oblivious driver of a bloated SUV is inconsequential to this story?

". . .she was a socialist and part of the reason this country is becoming communist." Is this what you're so threatened by? Why does a woman who wants to improve the environment and her fellow citizens scare you so much? Claiming communism is taking over this country is a paranoid delusion more suited to the 50s.

Luke is a POS. I went to college at the age of 30 after being in the Marines from the age of 17. You would be well advised not to make a jackass statement such as this to someone like me Luke. You wouldn't like my response.

Luke, you're a LOSER!

Regardless of our individual political beliefs I think there is one thing we all agree on: Luke is an a$$.

Way to troll it up XXXXXXX. The woman is working within the system to change it and is killed by an inattentive and possibly criminally negligent driver; you blast her because she is still in school; draw fire from everyone who is not a t3a ba99er and so to reclaim your position in the human race you claim that it is ok to kill her because you disagree with her politically? wow...and you can actually sleep at night? I'd rather be on her side than yours, troll XXXXXXXXX.

-You left out that America is slowly being converted to Sharia law and that the dollar will be phased out for the Yuan. You're slipping.

Don't feed the troll.

To touch on her politics, I vote Libertarian whenever it is on the ballot and therefore am ideologically at the opposite end of the spectrum from the Green Party. That said, I have more respect for the Green Party and someone who votes for/supports the Green Party than I do either of the 2 major parties. I will take her death to plug something that she probably stood for, which is unless we as a nation can escape the idea that a vote for anything outside the 2 major parties is a wasted vote, then we will forever be in the clutches of 2 puppets controlled by the same puppeteer.

I hope she is now in a better place than this Earthly existence. To any of her family and friends who may be reading: thank you, the world would be a better place if there was more independent thinking like hers.

To Luke, it is mindless, lemming group think oozing from both parties that is the greatest danger to America.

How did we even get away from the fact that another person on a bicycle has been killed and the perpetrator has not been charged! This woman made a conscious decision to turn her vehicle around and go home before calling police. This reeks of under the influence or other impairment while driving. The amount of damage shown on the vehicle shows this!

BTW @Luke you are a douche bag for even bringing this poor ladies beliefs in to this! Go back under your rock and come out in another 50 years.

With respect to politics, thanks for saying all that needed to be said.
Her death was a travesty.

People go to school throughout their lives. I did not realize that there was a certain cut-off age. I know people in their 60s that go to school.

Maybe Luke should go to school. His rant (and the mentality of his movement, the Teabagger movement) show us over and over again how we are grossly underfunding education.

We need more people like Natasha. And I am all for people bettering themselves by going to school no matter how old they are.

Not only did the driver admit to hit and run, but I'm wondering if there may have been an element of racism going on: the dead cyclist, Natasha Pettigrew, was black; the driver said she thought she hit "an animal" and didn't care to stop? Or maybe she noticed she hit Natasha and was trying to come up with a half-baked alibi?


You have no idea what you're talking about. How dare you bash someone for furthering their education, regardless of their age? I did not complete my Masters until 27 and many people continue to go to school throughout their lives. You also make a poor assumption that she is unable to support herself: law school is a difficult endeavor, and all you can do is slam her for being in school at age of 30?

And instead of apologizing, you shift your argument to her political affiliation? And how exactly were we to know that was your original point?

Also, the Green Party is not communist, if it were it would be called the Communist Party.

You are a perfect example of everything that is wrong with this country. There is no place for your bigotry, ignorance, anger, or hatred.

Articles like this drive me a little crazy because they are reported so much differently than articles about other deaths.

Here's what I mean - you would never say someone was killed by a knife - the inanimate object - you'd rightly say the human controlling the knife did it. Further, this was a hit-and-run - a different and worse sort of thing, and while as a society we've decided that's a significantly bad thing the article mentions it almost in passing as opposed to emphasizing it.

Putting them together, a more appropriate title would be "MD Green Party candidate killed by hit and run driver", and the article would clearly mention that it was a *collision* (it's not an accident until proven either way, but it's definitely a collision...), name the driver, and mention it was a hit and run.

Reported as it is, it feels like "oh, gosh, there was a cyclist and they were just hit out of the blue, and oh darn.". But we've all ridden bikes - it could be you or a loved one, and this is someone that was hit and then left to die, so one would hope it would be reported with a lot more gravity.

As for the Natasha's family, my condolences, and Christy I hope she faces real consequences and adjusts her road-use behavior to be quite a bit more mindful then hitting things, and especially just hitting something and driving off.

She was murdered on purpose and they know it...but the media refuse to post the can you hit a person in broad daylight and not know it...


Luke's way-off...most lefties are afraid to vote with their hearts b/c a vote for a radical candidate is a vote against mainstream. The two parties made this mess together...change, my friend, Luke, will come...not Communism, not political even...there is no true wealth to redistribute anymore...Green offers answers...poor woman...I voted against both the Republicans and Dems today and hope everyone else did, too...and I hope Natasha Pettigrew rests in peace...

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About the bloggers
Annie Linskey covers state politics and government for The Baltimore Sun. Previously, as a City Hall reporter, she wrote about the corruption trial of Mayor Sheila Dixon and kept a close eye on city spending. Originally from Connecticut, Annie has also lived in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, where she reported on war crimes tribunals and landmines. She lives in Canton.

John Fritze has covered politics and government at the local, state and federal levels for more than a decade and is now The Baltimore Sun’s Washington correspondent. He previously wrote about Congress for USA TODAY, where he led coverage of the health care overhaul debate and the 2010 election. A native of Albany, N.Y., he currently lives in Montgomery County.

Julie Scharper covers City Hall and Baltimore politics. A native of Baltimore County, she graduated from The Johns Hopkins University in 2001 and spent two years teaching in Honduras before joining The Baltimore Sun. She has followed the Amish community of Nickel Mines, Pa., in the year after a schoolhouse massacre, reported on courts and crime in Anne Arundel County, and chronicled the unique personalities and places of Baltimore City and its surrounding counties.
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