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.