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Post-doc injured in hit and run accident

By Katherine Shim

Keiko Udaka, a postdoctoral associate at the Center for Cancer Research, was run over early Saturday morning by a hit-and-run driver on Main Street near Kendall Square as she was bicycling back to her lab to check on an experiment. Cambridge Police said the incident, in which Udaka and her bicycle were dragged for almost two blocks, may have been intentional.

Udaka suffered multiple injuries, including a broken back. She is listed in stable condition in the respiratory intensive care unit of Massachusetts General Hospital and will undergo surgery in a few days.

At 3:37 am on Saturday, Udaka was hit by a dark blue 1978 or 1979 Pontiac Le Mans driven by a 30- to 35-year-old white male, witnesses said. A Polaroid security guard, who heard the crash, called the Cambridge Police. They responded immediately, said John Ferranti, a detective at the Cambridge Police Department. The police do not know the license plate number of the vehicle.

Cambridge Police Lt. James C. Grady said an anonymous caller also reported that a white male driving a dark car hit Udaka at Main and Windsor Streets after pulling away from a traffic light.

Grady told the Boston Herald that Udaka was dragged west on Main Street for about 100 yards and then about 30 yards on Osborn Street.

"Bystanders told us the driver stopped several times and backed the car up trying to dislodge the bicycle and rider," Grady said.

There are conflicting reports on whether the driver actually got out of his sedan on Osborn Street and looked under the car before freeing the car and driving away, according to the Herald.

"Some witnesses said it looked like he tried to hit her," Grady said.

The Herald also reported that Udaka told police from her hospital bed that she thought that the collision was intentional.

Udaka worked in the laboratory of Herman N. Eisen, professor emeritus of biology, for several years and was planning to leave in a few months to do research at the Max Plank Institute in Germany. Udaka is a citizen of Japan, where she received both her medical and doctoral degrees.

"She is an extremely hard worker, and it's typical that she was going back to lab when she was hit," said Theodore Tsomides G, a graduate student in Eisen's lab. "Though she has no family in the United States, she has a lot of friends, and everyone is concerned that she pulls through," he continued.