By Mike LaCrosse

SOMERVILLE (CBS) – Nadav Tanners lost his wife and the mother of his two children tragically last week. “She was so humble; she’d be so embarrassed to hear people talk about how brilliant she was and how respected she was,” Tanners said.

Forty-year-old Leah Zallman died of injuries after being hit by a car at the intersection of Kidder and College avenues on November 3. Tanners said she had just voted and was walking home.

“Just as I was getting ready to go, I got a ring at the doorbell and there were two Somerville police officers letting me know that my wife had been in an accident,” said Tanners.

Nadav Tanners and Leah Zallman. (Photo credit: Nadav Tanners)

The driver was an on-duty City of Somerville employee. The city said the driver stayed at the scene and is currently on paid administrative leave during the investigation.

Leah was a doctor at Cambridge Health Alliance and was also a physician-researcher focused on immigration and access to healthcare.

“She loved challenges. She loved engaging with people and getting them to collaborate and work together on common problems,” said Tanners.

A colleague says her brilliance was matched only by her passion. “She really just radiated this warmth and caring about people in a way that was really very personal,” said Sarah Jalbert of the Institute for Community Health.

In fact, she was the driving force behind a soon to be launched research think tank on immigrant health, which will now likely be delayed.

“She was just somebody you really wanted to emulate, she helped everyone around her be better,” Jalbert said.

Tanners said working from home because of the pandemic allowed Leah to spend lots of quality time with her boys, Eli and Kai.

“On rainy days she and the boys would put on their rain gear and go puddle jumping as that was their favorite thing and they’d get into leaf fights or snowball fights,” said Tanners.

Memories of weekend hikes and quality time playing that Tanners said he and his boys will never forget.

The Middlesex County District Attorney’s Office says the crash remains under investigation.

No charges have been filed against the driver.

Mike LaCrosse


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