The driver, a man in his 60s, said he stopped his van after several minutes when he heard “bizarre noises” and then discovered the mutilated body of the woman, who was in her 30s, Ouest France newspaper reported.
He said that he had initially felt that his van had hit or been hit by some object but had decided to carry on driving.
The driver has been charged with manslaughter after the accident that took place at around 4 am on Sunday on a minor road between the villages of Remungol et Moréac in the western French region.
The victim was reportedly walking along the country road after leaving a party in the early hours when she was hit by the utility vehicle.
The woman’s body is due to undergo an autopsy that police expect will help them figure out how the accident happened.