Friends and loved ones of two University of St. Thomas students who were critically injured by a hit-and-run driver early Sunday morning are urging the driver to come forward.
Both Nick Bergeland, 22, of Wayzata, and 22-year-old Rebekka Peterson, of Farmington, were exiting a cab on Grand Avenue when they were struck by a passing car. Police say the driver never stopped.
The three others that were still inside the taxi were not injured, but Bergeland and Peterson were still in critical condition by Monday night. The group of friends had been returning from the Dinkytown area at about 2:30 a.m.
Fox 9 News spoke with some of the victims' friends, who live just a few houses away from where the crash occurred. All said they were stunned to learn they were home at the time Peterson was injured.
"Sweetest girl I've ever known," Tyler Mangan said of Peterson, a fellow senior he's been close with since freshman year. "We met right away, and she had the biggest heart. Kind person. Everyone just seems to love Bekka."
Mangan said he and his roommates had been invited to join Peterson that night.
"It's was just kind of one of those, 'Wait, what?' moments," explained Peter Mayer. "That just happened outside last night. We had talked to her."
Investigators did locate the gray 2013 Mazda involved in the crash about a mile away from the scene on Sunday afternoon, saying it was "obvious" the vehicle was a part of the crash that left its side mirror behind. Now, friends of the victims are urging the driver to come forward.
The school plans to hold a vigil for the two injured students at 11 a.m. in the Chapel of St. Thomas Aquinas.
Anyone with information regarding the crash is urged to call St. Paul police at 651-291-1111.