As police searched Sunday for a hit-and-run driver who fatally struck a 20-year-old Augsburg College student early Saturday in downtown Minneapolis, family members and fellow students grieved for the victim.
Family members and a statement sent to students at Augsburg by college President Paul Pribbenow said he was Austin R. Conley, a first-year student who lived on campus and was majoring in business management.
According to Minneapolis police spokesman Sgt. Steve McCarty, the victim was hit at 2:45 a.m. Saturday near the corner of 3rd Street N. and 1st Avenue. He was taken to Hennepin County Medical Center, where he died.
Conley's 21-year-old sister, Alissa Conley, of Minneapolis, said his family is devastated. "He was truly, truly loved," she said Sunday night. "Please tell everyone he was a deeply caring person who never judged others, never gossiped, never said a negative word."
Alissa Conley said her brother grew up in Minneapolis with his family -- his parents, an older sister and older brother and her-- and attended Dunwoody Institute and several other Minneapolis schools before going to Augsburg. He loved creating his own rap music and had hoped to work in the music industry after college, she said.
"Austin was so smart," she said. "Anything about computers, any type of electronics, he could work or fix." He was very hard-working, both as a student and in his job at the Seven Sushi and Ultralounge and Skybar at 700 Hennepin Av. in downtown Minneapolis, she said, adding that he was not working that night.
Police are seeking the public's help in locating the driver and vehicle that killed Conley. The vehicle, described as a dark-colored four-door, possibly a Chevy Lumina, with front-end damage, was westbound on 3rd Street N. when it hit him. Anyone with information is asked to call police at 612-673-2941 .
In addition, Crime Stoppers of Minnesota is offering $1,000 for information leading to a conviction in the case. To report information, call 1-800-222-8477 (TIPS), text TIP674 and your information to 274637 (CRIMES) or go to the Crime Stoppers website at crimestoppersmn.org. Tips can be anonymous.
In his statement to Augsburg students and faculty, Pribbenow wrote: "Our thoughts and prayers are with Austin's family, friends, roommates, classmates, and professors. Augsburg staff from Student Affairs and Campus Ministry were with Austin's family ... and have been reaching out to Austin's roommates, friends, and others in the Augsburg community. The Augsburg College Department of Public Safety also is cooperating with the Minneapolis police, who are investigating this fatal hit-and-run."
Conley will be remembered at a chapel service at 10:20 a.m. Monday at Hoversten Chapel on campus, Pribbenow said. A larger gathering "to honor Austin's life and his contributions to the Augsburg community" is also being planned, its time and place yet to be announced.
Staff writer Adam Belz contributed to this report. Pamela Miller • 612-673-4290