Prayer Vigil Held for 2 St. Thomas Students Injured in Hit-and-Run

Updated: 11/26/2013 6:21 AM By: Scott Theisen

Police are searching for a driver after two University of St. Thomas students, both 22-years-old, were hit by a vehicle in St. Paul.

According to St. Paul Police, the hit-and-run occurred around 2:30 a.m. Sunday on the 1900 block of Grand Avenue.

Rebekka Peterson, of Farmington, and Nicholas Bergeland were taken to the hospital with critical injuries, according to St. Paul police. They remain in critical condition on Monday.

The University of St. Thomas community will come together Tuesday morning for a prayer service for Bergeland and Peterson. The service will be held at 11:30 a.m.

Police say they have the vehicle that hit the two victims; they’re now going over the vehicle for evidence. It was recovered on the 1700 block of Carroll Avenue in St. Paul, and police say it has front-end damage that's consistent with the evidence recovered at the scene.

Anyone with information is asked to call 651-266-5582.

According to University officials, Bergeland and Peterson were getting out of a cab with three other people when they were struck by another car.

"It saddens me that someone would just leave students laying on the ground like that," said Taylor Fleege, a junior at St. Thomas who lives mere feet from where the accident happened.

"I woke up to a loud crashing noise," Fleege said. "People were laying in the street and they were working on them in the street, so we knew it had to be bad."

"It really could have been anyone, so it's really sad to see it happen to some of our friends and people we care about," Fleege said.

5 EYEWITNESS News is learning more about one of the victims.

Peterson's LinkedIn page shows she recently interned at the Center for Girls' Leadership, a local nonprofit, and currently works as a student event scheduler for the university. She's also a Farmington High School graduate and former cheerleader. The FHS Tiger Cheer Facebook page changed its profile picture to one of Peterson during her cheering days. Her former coach describes her as "beautiful inside and out."

And as two families -- and an entire university -- prays, police pursue justice.

"Everyone wants answers and to find the person that did it," Fleege said.