CATAWBA COUNTY, N.C. - North Carolina state troopers were investigating a hit-and-run collision involving a jogger in Catawba County early Tuesday morning.
PHOTOS: Jogger critically injured in Catawba Co. hit-and-run
The crash happened just south of Hickory around 7 a.m. on Zion Church Road near Brookstone Drive.
Officials told Channel 9 that Bob Whitman -- who is a father of nine -- suffered critical injuries and was flown to Carolinas Medical Center in Charlotte.
The North Carolina Highway Patrol said the impact sent Whitman off the roadway and into a mailbox.
Kelsey Crow was feet away at an intersection when she witnessed the hit-and-run.
“I was trying to get up here fast enough to see if I could stop that car, but by the time I got up here the car was already down the road. I don't see how you couldn't stop,” Crow said.
Troopers said the female driver who hit Whitman drove away from the scene but that a short time later someone at a nearby church called police to tell them that they spotted a vehicle with heavy front-end damage in the parking lot.
RAW VIDEO: Jogger hit by vehicle in Catawba Co.
Troopers arrived at the church shortly after 8 a.m. and towed the car away.
Jeanne Cook, 47, was questioned by troopers, who told Channel 9 that she said she thought she hit a dog.
Just before 10 a.m., officials charged her with felony hit-and-run. As she was led away in handcuffs, she told Channel 9 that she was sorry.
Troopers said Cook works in the day care at the church where the car was found.
The Highway Patrol is working with the State Bureau of Investigation to recover any possible evidence off the damaged car that might link it to the crash scene. Channel 9 asked the lead investigator whether Cook may not have known she struck the jogger.
“She stated she thought she hit a dog. Is that possible? Based on the evidence at the scene that's not a plausible explanation,” said Jason Goudelock, with the Highway Patrol.
Zion Church Road was closed while police investigated.
Officials said they were able to talk to Whitman after he was airlifted to CMC.
Check back with wsoctv.com for updates on this story.
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