JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – A 94-year-old Northside woman died Monday after being struck by a vehicle Sunday afternoon in a fast-food restaurant parking lot, authorities said.
Ruth Long loved all things aviation and even parachuted from a plane when she was 80 years old.
News4Jax was told that Long (seen in a photo provided by Perrie Coker) had just left church when the accident occurred about 12:15 p.m. Sunday in the parking lot of a Kentucky Fried Chicken off Dunn Avenue.
"If she's not in heaven, nobody's in heaven because she was a fine Christian lady," Steve Long, a member of Highlands Baptist Church and a friend of Long who is not related to her, said Tuesday.
According to friends and witnesses, Long drove to the restaurant as she did every Sunday after church, parked in a handicapped spot and after she got out her car, she was struck by a woman backing up in her own vehicle. Long, who was using a walker, was knocked to the ground and died 22 hours later, friends said.
"I was sick all day yesterday thinking about it," Steve Long said. "I'm sick about it now. I haven't got over it yet."
The crash report, obtained by News4Jax on Wednesday, noted that the elderly woman complained of pain in her shoulder and side after she was struck by a Nissan Rogue SUV. Right after the accident, witnesses said, Long told them she wanted to go home, but what they didn't know was that she was bleeding internally. According to the crash report, she was transported to UF Health hospital, where she died the next day.
Witnesses confirmed to News4Jax that the driver of the vehicle was cooperative and stayed at the scene. The crash report shows that the driver of the SUV, 68-year-old Brenda Tuten, was cited with careless driving. Police also noted in the report that Tuten was going about 5 mph.
Witnesses to the accident said the driver told police she didn't see Long because she was in a rush to see her husband, who was in the hospital.
Friends said Long had a love for air shows and flying. In a photo provided by Perrie Coker, she can be seen with one of the oldest pilots in the Blue Angels, who is wearing a red sweater.
They also said she sang solos in the choir, sitting in one spot in the choir stand at the Highlands Baptist Church every Sunday. Long is being remembered for her voice, her remarkable memory and her love for God.
Long's friends said the church service this Sunday will be difficult without her presence.
"It's going to be sad -- a void -- because we know where she sits and, like I said, you can't find a better person," Steve Long said. "She's in heaven right now, so we don't have to worry about that. We just miss her down here."
Funeral plans for Long have not yet been announced.