The hunt is on for the hit-and-run driver who killed a woman in Middletown.
Now people in that city are grieving after the death of the longtime cafeteria worker at Wesleyan University.
“It’s just an awful, awful tragedy,” said Mayor Ben Florsheim, D – Middletown.
“I see on all my Facebook posts, rest in peace, gone too early. All that kind of stuff,” said Andrew Mierzejewski of Middletown.
Police identified the woman as 41-year-old Brooke Rich.
“It’s heartbreaking because it could have been avoided. And I hope very soon we will see some justice get done,” said Florsheim.
Rich was struck just steps from where she worked at Wesleyan University since 2007 as a cashier for the school’s food service provider.
In a statement, Bon Appetit Management Company’s resident district manager Michael Strumpf wrote in part:
“She will be missed by colleagues as well as the entire Wesleyan and Middletown communities. Our thoughts and prayers are with her family. While we are devastated by this tragic accident, we will always remember the joy that Brooke brought to everyone with her smile, kindness, and frequent changes to her hair color."
Detectives say they have a vehicle of interest.
Mayor Florsheim told NBC Connecticut it appears the vehicle drove through a red light.
“All of the evidence suggests that this was a situation where the pedestrian was legally in the crosswalk following the signal,” said Florsheim.
Investigators are also looking for a second car they believe hit the victim after the initial impact.
Others who walk or run in the area explained how it can be downright dangerous with the heavy traffic on Washington Street, also known as Route 66.
“You have you know to watch cars. You just can’t kind of step out blindly into the walkway assuming people are going to stop because many times they won’t,” said Don Oliver of Middletown.
The mayor says it’s a challenge with essentially a state highway running through a residential neighborhood. He’s working with the state and city departments to improve the safety here.
“It’s just unacceptable this continues to happen,” said Florsheim.
The mayor says along with any possible infrastructure improvements, drivers need to learn how to share the road with pedestrians and bikers.
Anyone who has any information about the hit-and-run is asked to call police.