By Katina Caraganis
LUNENBURG -- A Seven Hills Foundation employee has been placed on unpaid administrative leave and summonsed to court after she allegedly hit a woman with a company-issued van and dragged her for nearly 80 feet before stopping.
Teresa N. Muma, 39, of Leominster, was driving the van with a passenger inside when she allegedly hit 42-year-old Sheila LaPointe, of 727 West St., Lunenburg, who was out for her daily run on West Street, according to Police Chief Jim Marino.
It's unclear whether Muma realized immediately whether she had hit someone, Marino said. The accident happened just after 9 a.m. on Nov. 7.
LaPointe was "covered in road rash," Marino said, and likely suffered broken bones. She was transported by ambulance to UMass Medical Center in Worcester.
He said under normal circumstances they would have requested she be transported via medical helicopter but that was not possible because of cloudy conditions that day.
Bill Stock, vice president of government and community affairs at North Andover-based Seven Hills Foundation, said Muma has been employed by the company for five years and is a direct-support professional for a residential home in Lunenburg.
One of the responsibilities of her job, Stock said, is to transport residents to and from appointments.
Marino said it's still unclear how the accident occurred.
"There was no explanation," he said. "She wasn't on the phone or anything like that. There was a passenger in the car, who was very forthcoming. We don't know. You can only speculate at this point."
Marino said Muma was visibly upset after the accident happened, and the State Police Reconstruction Team seized the van for further investigation.
"They wanted it held to examine it," Marino said. "They take readings off the computer. We're trying to determine if she was actually dragged under the van or whether it ran over her or what. We were trying to figure out what exactly happened."
Muma will be arraigned to court on a single charge of negligent operation, which Marino said is not typically an arrestable offense.
Follow Katina Caraganis on Twitter @kcaraganis.