PettigrewPettigrewI don’t know what to say about this. You won’t need me to point out the irony.

Natasha Pettigrew, a Maryland Green Party candidate for U.S. Senate, died late Monday, two days after a Cadillac Escalade hit her while she was bicycling. The 30-year-old was training for a triathlon about an hour before sunrise, the Washington Post reports:

In a statement, Maryland Green Party co-chairman Brian Bittner said that Pettigrew had “incredible potential as a future leader for this party and this state” and that the Green Party had “never experienced a loss like this.”

“We all looked forward to working with Natasha for years to come,” Bittner said.

Pettigrew was hit by a sport-utility vehicle traveling near the intersection of Campus Way. State police said the driver apparently thought she had hit a deer or another animal and realized what had happened only when she arrived home and found Pettigrew’s bicycle trapped under her car. Pettigrew was not dragged by the vehicle but suffered severe injuries, police said.

More from thewashcycle.com, a D.C. cycling blog:

Initially it did not appear that Pettigrew was wearing reflective clothing or lights. But her mother claims that she always rode with reflective gear and a News9 team found “found pieces of reflective plastic just a few feet from the accident scene as well as a reflective sneaker which Pettigrew’s mother identified as the victim’s.”

Police say they needed to extract the bike from underneath the Escalade’s frame to retrieve any additional evidence.

The witness claimed she saw sparks and smoke flying from it as it slowly drove away.

A candlelight vigil will take place at 6 p.m. Friday at the accident site, Henry said. Her daughter was an avid runner, swimmer and cyclist, and she had long complained about the lack of designated bike lanes. Henry said she hopes her daughter’s death can draw attention to that need.

The Green Party has not decided if will find a replacement candidate or not, and if so, who.

Driving is not only unhealthy in the long run, through carbon pollution and particulate pollution. It’s also incredibly dangerous. Car wrecks killed 26,791 drivers and passengers, 4,414 pedestrians, and 718 cyclists in 2008, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. If terrorists inflicted that kind of violence on the U.S., we’d do something about it.