When Brenda Rodriguez saw two cars speeding toward her on Roosevelt Boulevard yesterday morning, she tried desperately to cross the roadway to safety, police said that witnesses had reported.

She didn't make it.

Police say she was killed instantly after one of two cars involved in a midnight drag race in Feltonville smashed into her and kept driving.

"They just floored it and kept going," said an investigator in the Accident Investigation Bureau, who asked not to be identified.

Rodriguez, 36, who police say was from 2nd and Louden streets, was walking along an intersection on the Boulevard near Rising Sun Avenue as two vehicles - a gold or tan late-'90s model Oldsmobile or Pontiac Bonneville and a blue Dodge Neon with a loud exhaust system and white stripes - sped at her up to 70 mph, police said.

The driver of the Pontiac struck Rodriguez, tossing her into the air, according to witness accounts.

"They knocked the life out of her," said Lewellyn Thompson, 50, who didn't witness the incident but saw Rodriguez's shoes and wallet strewn across the lanes.

The busy roadway, considered one of the most dangerous in the United States, has claimed many lives.

And residents like Zell Hightower complain that speeding is becoming a bigger problem.

"They do so much craziness on the Boulevard," she said.

"It's just that late at night, they know there's no traffic.

"Sometimes I hear them moving so fast that I just say a prayer, 'Don't let them kill nobody.' "

Many residents called for the drivers to turn themselves in.

"You can't even man up to your own fault," said Nate Thompson, 28.

Authorities said the gold or tan car may have damage to the windshield and the front end.

If caught, the drivers will face charges that include homicide, fleeing the scene of an accident and reckless driving, police said.

Tipsters should call the Accident Investigation Bureau 685-3180 or -3181. *