A Humboldt State University instructor was killed and two Eureka-area runners critically injured when they were struck by a hit-and-run driver early Thursday morning while jogging before dawn.
Suzanne Seemann, a lecturer in the HSU Geography Department and mother of two young children, was killed in the 5:50 a.m. crash, authorities said.
One of the women's pet dogs also was struck and killed by the driver of a 2005 Kia Spectra that then sped away, only to be found abandoned in Eureka later in the day, the CHP said.
Authorities on Friday declined to say who owned the recovered Kia or whether they had a suspect, though no arrests had been made by afternoon.
"We are actively working the case," Stacy said. "We do have leads, and it's still in progress."
HSU Geography Professor Paul Blank said Seemann's death was "wrenching" for the department.
"We are all in shock," he said.
Department Chairman Steve Cunha said the closeness that develops between students and teachers at a small university, in a field of study where people spend long periods together on field trips or in the lab, means the loss hit everyone hard.
"That's why we're all so sad today," Cunha said Friday. "There's a fondness that develops, and that's what happens here. We lost one of the people we spend time with. We lost one of our family. It hurts."
Seemann, a Bayside resident, had a 4-year-old daughter and a 7-year-old son. She was married to Hank Seemann, the deputy director of public works for Humboldt County and the county's environmental service manager.
Seamann was out for a regular run on rural Myrtle Avenue near Ole Hansen Road south of the Indianola Cut-off with two other women, Terri Little, 50, and Jessica Hunt, 41, both of Eureka, when they were all struck, the CHP said.
Seemann's husband and one of her children, wondering what had happened when she did not return home, were among those who came upon the accident site when authorities were in their initial response mode, Deputy Coroner Ariel Gruenthal said.
"It was a pretty tragic day out there," she said. "It was a hard one."
Educated at Princeton, the University of Wisconsin and MIT, Seemann specialized in oceanic and atmospheric sciences, university President Rollin C. Richmond said in a statement. She taught at the College of the Redwoods before coming to HSU as a lecturer in 2011, Cunha said.
"This was someone who had degrees from Princeton and MIT," he said. "She could have made gobs in the private sector. But she chose to work about part-time and devote time to her family. She was just a fantastic role model."