Martha Lorena Gutierrez, 23, a missionary from Nicaragua for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, died last month of injuries suffered in a traffic accident in Leningrad, USSR.

The woman, whose mission began last May, was apparently hit by a van whose driver swerved to miss a pedestrian and went up on a sidewalk, said Don LeFevre, a church spokesman.Carrie Madsen, about 21, Danville, Calif., the woman's companion in the Finland Helsinki East Mission, stepped back in time to avoid being hit and was not injured in the Feb. 23 accident, LeFevre said.

Mark Stoddard, president of the Jefferson Institute, an organization based in Provo that teaches free enterprise in the Soviet Union and how to start businesses in the United States, said Wednesday that he met the two missionaries recently in Leningrad.

Stoddard said the Nicaraguan missionary had studied medicine for five years in the Soviet Union and had returned to her home in Central America before being called on a mission to the Soviet Union.

He said he met Madsen in the Missionary Training Center last October when he went there with a group of visitors from the Soviet Union.