UPDATE: Names released after woman dies stopping to help animal in street

By: John Hanlon Email
By: John Hanlon Email

Middlebury, Ind. A woman is dead after police say she spotted a groundhog in the street, got out of her car to help it, and was then hit by an oncoming car.

The accident happened at 503 N. Main St. in Middlebury around 3 p.m Saturday.

Linda Hochstetler, 65, was driving south when she pulled over her red 2004 Hyundai to help the animal.

The driver of the other car, Irma Hiemstra, was heading north in a 2005 Chevy Malibu when Hochstetler reportedly stepped into her path.

Hochstetler was pronounced dead at the scene.

Aaron Smartt with the Middlebury Police Department says to call the correct authorities instead of stopping to help an animal yourself.

"If you have to, call dispatchers or police out," he said. "Maybe they can give a hand with road blocks or get the Elkhart County Shelters Department out so they can take care of the animal. That would be a better approach to it because trying to get an animal out of the road is not worth a human life."

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