‘People person’: Friend remembers postal worker who died after Portsmouth hit-and-run

Portsmouth

PORTSMOUTH, Va. (WAVY) — A U.S. postal worker died at the hospital Wednesday night after being struck in a hit-and-run on Tuesday.

The crash happened in the morning on Airline Boulevard near Caroline Avenue, and police are still searching for the driver. 

The 44-year-old woman was walking her delivery route when she was hit. Police identified her on Thursday as Margaret J. White and her family has been notified.

“We are deeply saddened by the loss of one of our employees and offer our condolences to her family and friends,” said Freda Sauter, a spokeswoman for the USPS.

On Thursday, coworkers, neighbors and loved ones placed flowers, balloons and signs at a memorial for White near the crash site.

Those who knew her well tell 10 On Your Side she was a “people” person with a magnetic personality.

“Just a glow in life,” said Scott Benson, a close friend of White. “She gained energy from sharing with other people and really lived to serve and care for others.”

Benson is the former pastor of Faith Lutheran Church in Suffolk, where White was very involved. He said she touched a lot of lives, especially the youth.

“She had the most giving wonderful spirit that was perfect for ministry,” Benson said. 

People who live in the neighborhood where White delivered mail said they were shocked by what happened — but now they’re angry.

Neighbors stood near the memorial waving signs and demanding justice.

“She’s a mother, a wife, she’s got a mother. I can’t even imagine what her kids are going through right now,” said Valerie Kelly. “We got to do something to get this person to justice.”

Family and friends also held a candlelight vigil for White Thursday night near the scene of the crash.

Shaken neighborhood

Judi Gould said the scene that unfolded is one she won’t soon forget: mail scattered in the street while first responders worked furiously to save a life.

“That’s the longest and hardest I’d ever watched them work on somebody,” she said. “It was hard. It was hard to see.”

Gould said White was at her home just minutes before she saw her laying in the road.

“We’re all shaken up by it,” said Bob Horne, a longtime resident. “We’re all pulling for her and hoping she comes through.”

Police are looking for the driver of a black Dodge Journey who flagged down an officer about the crash.

Gould said White had recently taken over the route for another postal worker and quickly became a beloved member of the community.

She said what happened feels personal. 

“I’m just mad that still nobody has come forward,” Gould said. “That means you slept on it. You’re still thinking on it and you still haven’t come forward. What is wrong with you?”

Horne said there have been several crashes at the intersection in the past due to increased traffic and speeding drivers.

“We have asked time and time again for a stop light to be put on this intersection,” he said. “We stated to one city engineer that it’s going to take somebody getting killed at this intersection before they do anything.”

The United States Postal Inspection Service is offering a reward up to $50,000 for information leading to an arrest and conviction.

The community hopes someone speaks up.

“This is a mom, a wife, a sister, a daughter,” Gould said. “Somebody knows something, somewhere.”

USPIS is working with Portsmouth Police. Postal investigators are still trying to determine if the suspect could also face federal charges.

If you have information, call police or the Crime Line at 1-888-LOCK-U-UP.


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