By Lanford Beard
Updated February 13, 2012 at 11:08 PM EST
Credit: Alberto E. Rodriguez/WireImage

Zina Bethune, a 66-year-old actress and dancer, was fatally struck in a presumed double hit-and-run when she stopped to help an injured animal, reports the L.A. Times. Bethune was a famed ballerina, who taught dance to disabled children for the last 30 years. She herself had overcome diagnoses of scoliosis and lymphedema before training with George Balanchine and the New York City Ballet at age 14.

Though she went by Zina Feeley in everyday life, she made her professional name (Zina Bethune) in 1958 on The Guiding Light and had roles on Santa Barbara, Party of Five, and the 1960s medical drama The Doctors and the Nurses. She also choreographed for the 1987 TV series Nutcracker: Money, Madness & Murder.

Los Angeles police are investigating the incident, which took place just after midnight on Sunday. Bethune is believed to have stopped to check on an injured animal when a car going the opposite direction hit her and threw her across the intersection, when another car struck her and dragged her 200 yards. The blows resulted in severe head injuries, and Bethune was pronounced dead at the scene. Neither of the drivers who struck Bethune have been formally identified.