Green Party candidate Natasha Pettigrew died on Sept. 21 from injuries she suffered after being hit by a car in the early morning hours of Sept. 19. Pettigrew, 30, was attempting to unseat 24-year veteran Sen. Barbara Mikulski (D).

Pettigrew, in training for a triathlon, was out riding her bike early in the morning when she was struck by Christy Littleford of Upper Marlboro. Littleford kept driving her Cadillac Escalade after she struck Pettigrew as she told police she thought she hit a deer or a dog.

When Littleford arrived home, she and her husband discovered Pettigrew’s bike lodged underneath the vehicle and that’s when they called police. No charges have been filed and the investigation is still ongoing.

For the Maryland Green Party, this is a tragic loss that may take the party a while to recover from.

“As a party, we have never experienced a loss like this,” said Brian Bittner, co-chair of the Maryland Green Party, in a statement. “We all looked forward to working with Natasha for years to come. Natasha was a bright, hardworking young woman who had talked to many Maryland voters as a candidate and meant much too many Marylanders as a person. She had incredible potential as a future leader for this party and this state.”

Pettigrew, a Cheverly native, graduated from Elizabeth Seton High School in Bladensburg. After high school, Pettigrew attended Ohio State University where she received bachelor degrees in zoology and criminology. In 2008, she began take classes at the University Of Miami School Of Law. She’d taken a break from school to take a run at Senate.

On her website, she stated why she was running for office. She said it was time that public officials are held accountable for their actions and that she would truly be a representative politician.

“If I am given the privilege of being the next United States Senator for Maryland, not only will my door always be open to all, but I will come to you,” she said. “It is impossible to represent the needs of Americans without asking them what they need. To reach some friends and neighbors, that may mean leaving Capitol Hill and taking the one to the many.”

Pettigrew also mentioned her decision to run as a Green Party candidate because the she said the party’s 10 key values fit the campaign she wanted to run. She said the party was truly about the people and making sure everyone had an opportunity to succeed.

State Green Party officials will now have to find a replacement for Pettigrew. They have until Oct. 4 to decide. The Green Party Coordinating Council is expected to make a decision by early next week.

However, it is a decision no one in the party’s state leadership wanted to make because they saw Pettigrew as young star in the party. “Natasha’s intellect and charisma impressed everyone she met,” said Karen Jennings, Maryland Green Party co-chair, in a statement. “We’ll never know what great things could have come from this bright young woman.”

Funeral arrangements for Pettigrew have not been made yet.