UCSD Professor Struck by Car, Dies in Husband's Arms

Anouchka Mihaylova, 62, was working on an artificial heart

A San Diego professor died in her husband's arms after she was struck in a hit-and-run Saturday, leaving her family shocked and grief-stricken.

Anouchka Mihaylova, 62, was hit by a car around 8:30 p.m. Saturday in the 11000 block of Rancho Bernardo Road. Son Boian Spassov said his mother passed away in his father's arms.

“They took away my dad’s partner, and they ran away," he said. "It’s cowardly.”

Spassov said his mother, a professor at UC San Diego, died while walking with her husband to their favorite restaurant.

“My dad wanted to drive, but she said, ‘No, we must walk,’” Boian said.

According to San Diego police, a car jumped the curb, fatally struck Mihaylova on the sidewalk and took off without stopping.

Police described the vehicle that hit the professor as a silver or pewter 2005 or 2006 Nissan Altima 2.5S (pictured right) with a missing passenger side mirror and damage below the right headlight and passenger side. Spassov had a simple message for the runaway driver who killed his mother: “Turn yourself in.” 

Mihaylova, who is originally from Bulgaria, worked in the Department of Bioengineering at UCSD and was doing research on the artificial heart.

“Just type her name into Google and see how much good she’s done,” Spassov said. “She loved her work. She loved who she worked with. She loved UCSD.”

Spassov described his mom as an energetic person who loved everyone she met. Now begins the  process of coming to terms with her death, he said.

“I wish I had spent more time, put aside the small things,” Spassov said. “We have a small family. It’s just my dad and I now.”

Ed. Note: NBC 7 initially reported the suspect's car as a silver 1985 Toyota. Police have since modified the vehicle description to a 2005 or 2006 Nissan Altima.

Contact Us