A 58-year-old New York University administrator was killed by a sanitation truck when her dog got loose while she was out walking it in Chelsea on Wednesday morning, said a law enforcement official.
Jackie Haeflinger was chasing her Boston terrier after it got loose from its leash on 15th Street, near 7th Avenue, the official said.
The dog, named Violet, ran toward the sanitation truck and Haeflinger went underneath to get it. But as she did so the truck started to back up, running Haeflinger over and killing her just after 10 a.m., police said.
Haeflinger, who worked as the Associate Director of University Events at NYU, was pronounced dead at the scene.
Neighbors and friends remembered Haeflinger as a friendly woman who loved her dog. Barbara Edelstein, who has walked Violet every day for five years, said she couldn't believe what happened.
"That was her baby," Edelstein said, visibly shaken.
A neighbor of Haeflinger, Joanna Kunze, took Violet in following the incident and will care for the dog until other arrangements can be made.
"I wish I didn't see what I saw. It was terrible," said Kunze, 36, who would often walk her own dog with Haeflinger. "It's a really close knit neighborhood. Super friendly, warm, kind, especially among the dog owners."
Haeflinger was admired for making every university event "warm, gracious and memorable," said NYU Spokesman John Beckman in an email, adding that "her absence will be keenly felt."
The incident was "a tragic accident" and is under investigation, said Department of Sanitation spokeswoman Kathy Dawkins.