St. Paul police said they have very little information and no physical evidence to help them piece together what happened to a man found unconscious about 4 a.m. Thursday in the median of a busy East Side road.
Wade Souster, 31, of St. Paul, suffered life-threatening injuries in a hit-and-run accident, police spokesman Howie Padilla said. A passerby found Souster and called police. Padilla said it’s unclear how long he was lying in the median of Phalen Boulevard just west of Atlantic Street, but he could have been there overnight.
“Frankly, this is a situation where we’re going to be seeking [the public’s] help … because we really don’t know what we’re looking for,” Padilla said. “We have nothing to go on.”
Police don’t have a vehicle description or any physical evidence from the scene, such as damaged car parts, he said. The stretch of Phalen Boulevard where Souster was found is industrial with no homes nearby. The Bruce Vento Regional Trail runs along the north side of the street backed by a thicket of trees.
The car involved could have fresh damage to the front, possibly the driver’s side, police said. Padilla urged auto body shop workers to thoroughly assess any cars that come in with front-end damage and to call the police should anything suspicious be found.
As of Friday morning, Souster was still listed in critical condition at Regions Hospital. Padilla said he suffered a “significant” head injury, among other serious injuries.
Souster’s family released a statement saying that he grew up in Inver Grove Heights but was living in the Lake Phalen area. Everyone called him “Uncle Wade” because he was so friendly, the statement said.
He liked to go for walks at night, the statement said.
“We are devastated that whoever hit him did not stop to help,” the family said. “But we are grateful to the driver who found him and did call an ambulance. We are also thankful that Wade is alive and we hope and pray that he will have a full recovery.”
The family said a CaringBridge site would be set up for Souster by the weekend, and pleaded for the public’s help.
“For anyone who may have information about who hit Wade, please call the police,” the family said.
Souster is a longtime employee of the Downtowner Car Wash in St. Paul. “He’s a great person,” said Michelle Montpetit, vice president of the Downtowner. “What happened is tragic, nothing short of tragic.”
Anyone with information can call police at 651-266-5722.