Chelsea woman Jackie Haeflinger was crushed beneath a 20-ton garbage truck on Wednesday when she pushed her Boston terrier out of the truck’s path.
Haeflinger and her pup, Violet, were walking through the neighborhood at about 10 a.m. when Violet ran off to chase another dog. A few seconds later, Violet bolted beneath an idling garbage truck, and Haeflinger followed.
Haeflinger skidded onto the street as she tried to stop Violet, then disappeared underneath the truck’s wheels. The truck driver, unaware of Haeflinger’s position, put the truck in gear and moved forward.
The truck rolled over the victim twice – once moving forward and once when it backed up.
“She was under the truck before you knew it,” witness Edward Sanders said. “The first [wheels] hit her and the second finished her off.”
Violet stood next to Haeflinger in the street and whimpered. The truck driver, who realized what had happened, dropped his head into his hands.
“He grabbed his head, like saying, ‘What did I do?’” Sanders said.
The 58-year-old woman was killed instantly.
Haeflinger had been a popular resident and revered NYU administrator, where she had worked for 18 years. She was admired for her high standards and ability to make every NYU event warm and memorable, according to NYU spokesperson John Beckman.
Haeflinger’s friends knew her for her love of cooking and her kindness.
Following Haeflinger’s death, a neighbor volunteered to care for Violet until relatives could claim her.