Woman killed during race 'always had a smile'

Posted at 9:57 AM, Dec 07, 2015

CINCINNATI -- A woman participating the annual 13.2-mile Seven Hills Run/Walk died Saturday morning when police said she struck by a car during the race in Mount Auburn.

The vehicle struck 57-year-old Cathy Chatfield on a sidewalk in the 400 block of Dorchester Avenue when it "jumped the curb" at about 9:30 a.m., Cincinnati spokesman Rocky Merz said.

The car, a 2005 Chrysler 300, hit Chatfield from behind and caused her head to hit the ground, Chatfield's running partner and friend Kim Ackerman said.

Cathy Chatfield

"It was probably mile three and that's when the accident happened," Ackerman said. "I was in shock. Absolute shock and horror. Word spread quickly, because all the other runners came up. They thought somebody had tripped."

Emergency crews took Chatfield to University of Cincinnati Medical Center where she was pronounced dead, authorities said.

"The paramedics came real quick, but there was no pulse," Ackerman said.

The driver fled the scene on foot, police said. A female passenger of the car later returned to the scene and was questioned by police, but officers are still looking for the male driver, officials said.

An image from the scene. 

"Such an innocent person was killed. And they didn't care to stay and say I'm sorry," Ackerman said. "My understanding, from witnesses, was the (driver) took the license plate off the back of his car and took something out of the trunk of his car."

Chatfield’s friends said she was doing what she loved: staying fit and active. She was a member of the House of Run N Tri running group.

Friends said Chatfield was known for her “no nonsense” attitude, but was also full of laughter and support for her friends and fellow athletes.

"She always had a smile," Ackerman said. "She was very, very supportive. She was a coach."

Officers said the male suspect is in his 20s and was last seen wearing blue pants and a button-up shirt.