A woman hit and killed Tuesday by a vehicle while she was unloading her car on a busy La Jolla street has been identified as Melissa Bonney Ratcliff, vice president of the San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce.
Ratcliff was running errands and had been unloading her car before noon on Girard Avenue when a 91-year-old driver backed out of a nearby parking spot on the west side of the street, crossed into the other side and rammed into Ratcliff, San Diego police said.
The cause of the crash remains under investigation.
In a report released Wednesday, the medical examiner's office said Ratcliff died from blunt force injury to her torso and listed her manner of death as an accident.
Ratcliff, 45, served as vice president of marketing and events for the chamber of commerce.
Ratcliff was hired by the chamber of commerce earlier this year, according to a news release from the chamber in March.
She was described as a “nationally recognized leader in marketing and strategic communications” and previously worked as a press secretary for the Democratic National Committee. She also served in the White House in the 1990s as then-Vice President Al Gore’s deputy director of communications, according to the chamber.
The chamber issued a statement, saying members were "grief stricken over the tragic loss."
"She was a well-respected and valued member of the chamber team and will be missed by all of us," the statement said. "We're deeply saddened by her loss and send our thoughts and prayers to her family and friends."