The Alpine community is mourning the loss of a mother and respected community member who was hit and killed by a car while crossing the street Wednesday.
Andrea Smith, 64, was crossing South Grade Road in the area of Calle De Compadres when she was struck by an oncoming Honda Civic.
The 57-year-old driver behind the wheel of the Honda was taking his son to school, the family told NBC 7 San Diego. He apparently did not see the woman as she walked toward her parked car because of the change in elevation of the roadway, California Highway Patrol (CHP) officers said.
The driver, who has not been identified, was unable to stop in time, officers said.
At the time, Smith was crossing the street to get back to her car, parked near a trail head. She had her two dogs with her, who ran away in the chaotic moments after the crash.
Smith died at the scene. The driver was not hurt.
The driver's wife said he raced out of the car to try and save her, but she was lifeless within seconds. She says he is devastated and feeling burdened.
Smith's son said she was a respiratory therapist at Rady Children's Hospital for 20 years and had just retired a few months ago.
Community members, shocked by the news, came to the scene of the crash to leave flowers.
"It's a big deal because this is a small town and everybody knows everybody and it really hit hard to know that somebody was just crossing the street," said Danielle Pupa, an Alpine resident.
An accident re-constructionist was on scene all Thursday, trying to figure out ways the road could be made safer.
"There are pedestrian calculations you can perform based on how far the pedestrian was thrown through the air, or depending on the motion ... it's a little bit gruesome but those are tools someone like me will use to figure out what happened," said Dan Toneck, an accident re-constructionist.
Alcohol or drugs were not believed to be a factor.