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Woman dies in Astoria after being pinned under her car

Car slipped on steep hill as she was placing de-icer
By Jack Heffernan

The Daily Astorian

Published on February 22, 2018 10:59AM

Last changed on February 23, 2018 7:56AM

Emergency responders work the scene of a fatal accident in Astoria Thursday morning.

Colin Murphey/The Daily Astorian

Emergency responders work the scene of a fatal accident in Astoria Thursday morning.

A newspaper delivery driver was killed Thursday morning after being pinned underneath her car near 12th Street and Kensington Avenue in Astoria.

Debra Kay Burnett, 50, of Astoria, stopped her 2007 black Honda Accord on the steep street, turned the wheels and walked behind it to place de-icer, witnesses said. While her back was turned, the car began to slide down the hill. She tried to dash away, witnesses said, but the wheels caught her legs and slowly rolled over her upper body.

“It didn’t even look like it was going to hit her at first,” said Charles Raffington, a neighbor who was taking out the garbage in front of his house when he saw the accident about 9:30 a.m. He said he immediately called police and ran over to see if the woman was OK.

“The first time she screamed it was like, ‘What is going on?’ The second time was more of a panic,” he said.

Raffington said she initially was responsive before passing out. She was declared dead by emergency personnel on the scene.

Astoria police said Burnett was a delivery driver for The Oregonian and was on her route before the accident.

“We are saddened to hear the news that an independent dealer of The Oregonian was killed this morning in a tragic accident related to the winter weather conditions,” John Maher, president of the Oregonian Media Group, said in a statement posted by The Oregonian.

Maher described Burnett’s death as a tragedy and said the company has offered condolences to her family.

Burnett worked as a mailroom supervisor at The Daily Astorian for several years.


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