NEW YORK - A woman was fatally struck by a garbage truck Wednesday morning as she ran to save her beloved dog, CBS New York reported.
Jackie Haeflinger, 58, was run over and crushed in the horrific accident, which took place around 10 a.m. in Manhattan's Chelsea neighborhood.
Haeflinger was walking Violet, an 8-year-old Boston terrier, when the dog somehow got off her leash. Violet ran into the street as the garbage truck was backing up.
Witnesses said the truck driver apparently did not see Haeflinger or hear his partner trying to get him to stop.
"It just happened so fast. I'm getting off my bike, and then turned. She's reaching trying to grab her dog and she's under the truck before you know it, and it was done," witness Ed Sanders told CBS New York.
The confused little dog, who was not hurt, was found on the sidewalk only a few feet away from where her owner's body lay in the middle of 15th Street.
Haeflinger's friends were in shock.
"We've been friends for 35 years," Robert Gioria said, putting his head in his hands.
Friends said Haeflinger would have done anything to save her dog.
"She loved that dog, but that dog was crazy," Gioria said. "Wild, you know, she would run. She would pull her down the street."
Violet was staying with a neighbor Wednesday evening.
Haeflinger worked for New York University in its events office. Her friends said she had just returned from a trip to the NYU campus in Dubai.
"She was a devoted, longtime member of the NYU community whom many of us -- myself included -- knew well and admired for not only for her hard work and exacting standards but for her commitment to make every NYU event warm, gracious, and memorable for students, families, and faculty," Philip Lentz, director of public affairs at NYU, said in a statement. "Her family and loved ones are in our prayers. We are all coming to terms with the sudden news. We shall miss her."