A 13-year employee at television station KSBY was struck and killed by a vehicle on Saturday as she was heading to meet friends at The Cliffs Resort in Shell Beach.
Pismo Beach police said Tricia Rittger of Los Osos parked her car in a lot across from The Cliffs about 6:50 p.m. and was walking west across the street when an older model Ford SUV, heading south, struck her.
A witness told police that Rittger looked north, saw the vehicle heading her way and increased her speed in an effort to make it across the street, police Cmdr. Jake Miller said.
The driver of the SUV, whose name was not released, told police that he did not see her, Pismo Beach police Sgt. Steve Weir said.
Rittger was taken to Arroyo Grande Community Hospital and pronounced dead at 7:35 p.m.
The speed limit along that stretch of Shell Beach Road is 40 mph; police said they believe the driver was traveling slower than the posted limit.
There’s no indication that the driver or Rittger was talking on a cellphone, and alcohol is not believed to be involved. There are streetlights in the area, but Rittger was wearing dark clothing, Weir said.
“Right now, there’s no indication that he was doing anything other than driving down the road and didn’t see her,” Weir said, noting the investigation is ongoing.
The driver has not been cited.
Smile, laughter recalled
Rittger began at the television station in 1998 and worked her way up to her current position as national sales manager.
“Tricia came to work every day with a sunny smile and a wonderful attitude,” said Kathleen Choal, president and general manager of KSBY, the NBC affiliate for San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara counties. “You could hear her laugh down the hall. Her laughter and love of life was evident in everything she did.”
Rittger, 39, graduated from Cal Poly and worked in Colorado Springs before returning to the Central Coast, Choal said. Rittger leaves behind her husband, Aaron, and their 4-year-old daughter.
Choal said Rittger was on her way to meet friends and go to a movie Saturday evening.
A memorial service will be held on Sunday at noon at The Cliffs Resort. The Tricia Rittger Memorial Fund has been set up by a friend of the family. Donations can be made in person at any Rabobank or mailed to Rabobank, 2276 Broad St., San Luis Obispo, CA 93401.
Reach Cynthia Lambert at 781-7929. Stay updated by following @SouthCountyBeat on Twitter.