Police have identified the woman that was struck and killed trying to rescue a dog in what is being called a hit-and-run crash in Newington Tuesday morning.
There were multiple 911 calls about a driver evading the scene after a crash on Willard Avenue, just north of New Britain Avenue, at around 6 a.m.
Police said 60-year-old Sharon Frey from West Hartford was tending to a dog on Willard Avenue just as the sun was rising, when she was hit.
Family members said she was on her way to work in Newington when she saw the dog in the road. Police said she stopped in the left hand lane, instead of pulling over.
Police said an oncoming driver hit her and the dog with a Volkswagon Passat, and then took off.
"That vehicle evaded and she was discovered in the roadway by motorists that came upon the scene," said Newington Police Sgt. Chris Perry.
Police said her attempts to help the dog may not have been in vain.
"It is alive at this time, it's being brought to local vets for medical attention," Perry said.
Family members of Frey said they were shocked by her sudden death, and after taking time to reflect on how it happened, they said her character was shining through until the very end.
"Beautiful soul.There's not many out there like her. I can truly say that," said Frey's brother-in-law Bruce Ingraham. "She had a great soft spot for animals and people."
Officers were searching for the vehicle on Tuesday, which was described as a 2001 to 2005 Volkswagen Passat that was missing a side view mirror and had some front-end damage. The driver had left behind a lot of debris, including the missing mirror.
Eyewitness News learned the driver turned himself in to police, but initially he told co-workers that he thought he hit an animal which is why he fled the scene.
Police said the driver “is cooperating with police.”
While police have not identified the driver, co-workers said the alleged driver is Shahid Zafar, who is a father of two and has no criminal record.
When he drove into a Mobil station on Tuesday morning he said he hit a bear but later he realized it was a person.
The crash remains under investigation and no charges have been filed by police.
There's no word on what caused the incident.
The accident reconstruction team was called to help piece together exactly what happened. Willard Avenue was shut down in that area during the police investigation.
Anyone who may have witnessed the crash was asked to call the Newington Police Department at 860-666-8445.
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