Police: Woman dies after being hit by 3 vehicles in Strip District
By Adam Brandolph and Margaret Harding
Published: Tuesday, December 11, 2012, 8:24 a.m.
Updated: Wednesday, December 12, 2012
A West Mifflin woman died on Tuesday morning on her way to work when she was struck by three vehicles in the Strip District.
Doctors pronounced Judith Kollar, 53, dead at 7:33 a.m. in Allegheny General Hospital in the North Side, an employee with the Allegheny County Medical Examiner's Office said.
Kollar, who worked as a health information systems invoicing supervisor for Adagio Health on Penn Avenue, was crossing at Smallman and 14th streets when a driver of a sports utility vehicle turning from 14th hit her and knocked her into the opposite lane about 7:10 a.m., said Sgt. Daniel Connolly of the collision investigation unit.
The driver of a box truck hit her, as did the driver of a second SUV, Connolly said. She was in critical condition when paramedics took her to the hospital.
“We believe the large truck driver didn't realize he hit her,” Connolly said.
Police have a photo of the truck from video surveillance cameras, and the Heinz History Center is providing footage from cameras mounted outside its building, about a block away from the accident, spokesman Ned Schano said.
Police said the truck involved may have been owned by Flora Pack, a flower business based in Jordan Station, Ontario.
Robert Whitenect, finance controller for Flora Pack, said he had not been able to reach the driver and could not confirm whether his driver was involved.
Whitenect said his company is cooperating with police. They are searching for the truck, which has a refrigeration unit and a graphic of a woman on the side.
“Judith Kollar was a wonderful co-worker and great friend to many at Adagio Health,” said Adagio spokeswoman Linda Mitchell.
“She was a dedicated and respected professional during her 26-year tenure here. Judy's loss leaves a huge void in our organization, but more importantly, to her family and friends. Our thoughts and deepest sympathies are with her family during this difficult time.”
Mitchell said Kollar had been scheduled to work on Tuesday, but declined comment. Kollar's co-workers and her daughter, Caitlin, declined to comment.
Retailers whose businesses are on Penn Avenue just a few blocks away from the scene of the accident said where they are located, pedestrian accidents aren't common and motorists tend to slow down.
“Where that accident happened is a whole other area of the Strip District,” said Dan Wholey, owner of Wholey's Market at 17th Street and Penn Avenue.
Anyone who saw the box truck is asked to call the homicide squad at 412-323-7161.
Adam Brandolph and Margaret Harding are staff writers for Trib Total Media.
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Talk about an accident waiting to happen. I drive thru this area to and from work daily. In the early morning and evening hours, it is very dark with minimal lighting. A huge number of young people work in the nearby businesses, and cross the streets, dressed all in black, often without even looking. Often they will glance at an oncoming car and then step right out in front, just because there is a crosswalk. Add a little rain or snow or fog and even a driver going 10 miles an hour may not see them. I drive at snail pace through that area often, straining to see a figure in dark through the rain. I wish every day that the pedestrians would think before they step out in the road. I think about the museums and hotels in the areas that attract out of town guests, who may be concentrating on where to go or where to park, unaware of the multitude of pedestrians. I am surprised that accidents like these don't happen in this location more often. I can think of 3 simple solutions, any one of which may have saved this unfortunate woman. 1) Nearby businesses that have employees who park in the many lots in this area should have simple educational sessions about safety. I truly have not seen so many people carelessly dart out in front of cars since I lived on a college campus. We teach kindergartners this but many adults need to be reminded. 2. How about some decent lighting? This is an area with huge lots, businesses and museums. Where is the safe lighting? 3. Best yet, wouldn't the cost of adding a few over-the-road pedestrian bridges be more than justified? Wouldn't saving one life be worth the small costs? I feel for the pedestrian who lost her life...probably just trying to get to work. I feel for the drivers who may do his or her best and simply not see someone and the grief that they probably suffer forever when an accident happens. In this situation, the city really needs to step up and make a busy area safe for all of us.