A Brooklyn Center family is asking others to be careful because a beloved grandmother, recent widow and breast cancer survivor won't be coming home for the holidays after being struck by a car.
Heartbreak extends from the victim's daughter to the stranger who called 911 after 55-year-old Alberta Geist, better known as Birdie, was struck. Yet, despite her tiny 4'11" frame family says she proved her strength.
"She was looking forward to Christmas just looking forward to every day -- just started a new job," said Geist's niece, Christina Traft. "It's just hard for everyone for her to go like this and so soon."
Geist was on her way home her shift at Cub Foods on Friday night when the unthinkable happened. Family members believe she had just stepped off a bus when she was hit by a car at Osseo Road and 49th Avenue North near the border of Minneapolis and Brooklyn Center.
A witness who lives nearby heard the accident, telling Fox 9 News, " I heard a noise -- a big smack -- and looked. Same time, I saw something flew. I walked over, and there was a lady on the ground."
Investigators say there is no indication the 18-year-old driver was drinking or texting. In fact, she had a green light, but Geist was not in a crosswalk. Police say the response by witnesses was the best anyone could ask for given the awful situation.
"We went and got some blankets and covered her up so she wouldn't be cold," one witness who did not want to be identified said. "Just praying for the best."
Unfortunately, the best was that Geist was a little bit more comfortable before she was taken to the hospital where she eventually succumbed to her injuries.
"It's nice that under the circumstances people tried to help her. We just want to say thank you to the people who were there," said Traft.
Geist's family is still trying to make sense of the sudden loss, and while they hope for more details, they also want the driver to know she's in their prayers.
"She's so young," Traft said. "To have something like this happen to her as well can also change her life forever, and it will change ours."
Another pedestrian was killed in Northern Minnesota on Friday night. A man crossing Highway 46 was hit and killed in Itasca County.