LAFAYETTE -- An elderly woman who died Tuesday afternoon when she was hit by a big-rig dump truck in the Upper Happy Valley neighborhood was in a crosswalk but wasn't seen by the driver who struck her, authorities said Tuesday.

Pleasant Hill resident Maria White, 78, died at the scene after being hit at the intersection of Ranch and Upper Happy Valley roads at 1:13 p.m.

"It appears to be just a terrible, terrible accident," Lafayette police Sgt. Howard Shiells said.

The dump truck driver cooperated with police, and drugs and alcohol were not a factor, Shiells said. The driver, according to witnesses at the scene, was stopped at a stop sign "for a several seconds," Shiells said, and White began to cross.

A woman was struck and killed by a big rig Tuesday afternoon, June 17, 2014, on El Nido Ranch Road near Upper Happy Valley in Lafayette, Calif. (Karina
A woman was struck and killed by a big rig Tuesday afternoon, June 17, 2014, on El Nido Ranch Road near Upper Happy Valley in Lafayette, Calif. (Karina Ioffee/Bay Area News Group)

Shiells said the driver then began to pull forward slowly, and the truck ran over White.

"Because of the height of the truck, we believe he just never saw her," Shiells said. "This doesn't appear to be a result of a criminal act. He cooperated fully at the scene, and we had him for all five hours for questioning. He was visibly shaken and upset."

The intersection and the area surrounding it remained closed until about 6 p.m., Shiells said.

Contact Rick Hurd at 925-945-4789 and follow him at Twitter.com/3rderh.



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