With hit-and-run of Wade Souster, tips flood in

Wade Souster is shown the day after being hit by a car in the early hours of Oct. 3. (submitted photo)
Patrick Larkin
news editor

For St. Paul Police Cmdr. Steve Carlson, the lead investigator in the East Side hit-and-run case of Wade Souster, the average day means wading through hordes of voicemails.

Many of the voicemails are from concerned citizens hoping to turn the corner in Souster’s case. A vehicle hit Souster while he walking near his home by Lake Phalen in the early hours of Oct. 3.

He was left in the road; the driver took off.

He was brought to Regions Hospital, fighting for his life after suffering a range of severe injuries including brain swelling and broken bones.

In the days following, the St. Paul Police department put out a bit of information about the incident in hopes of finding the driver who hit Souster.

They asked the public to call them with information about any dark-colored vehicles with front-end damage.

As it happens, there are many cars in the area that fit that description. “We’ve received so many different tips,” Carlson said.

St. Paul police spokesperson Paul Paulos noted that processing all the tips is “a very time-consuming element. But as a department, we have that responsibility.”

“When the public calls in, there is a level of expectation that we will follow through and do what’s right,” he said. “One good tip can lead to an arrest.”

Carlson said that the barrage of tips has been overwhelming, but the department is looking into all of them.

“I really want to solve this,” he said. “We’re following up, and we haven’t found anything yet.

Three or four of the best investigators in the city are helping me out with it,” he added.

To call in a tip pertaining to the investigation, contact police at 651-266-5722.

Long road to recovery

Angie Hammerlindl, Souster’s cousin, said she’s still holding out hope that the person who hit Wade will be brought to justice.

She said that Souster was recently moved to Bethesda Hospital, which specializes in long-term recovery care.

Hammerlindl reported that Souster is “taking baby steps in the right direction.” He has been talking to family, and remembers most of his family members upon seeing them, she said.

However, “he has pretty serious brain trauma,” she said, and sometimes becomes confused, thinking it’s a different year. He also had a large number of bones broken in his face, everything from the top of his skull to his jawbone, she said.

He’s got a long ways to go, she said, “but he’s alive.”

The family explained to him that he was hit by a car, she said, and he has just recently seen his own reflection.

Souster, a manager at Downtowner Car Wash, doesn’t seem to recall anything about the hit-and-run collision that put him in a hospital bed, Hammerlindl said.

She added that there would be a benefit concert for him in mid-December. Plans are forthcoming.

Contact Patrick Larkin at 651-748-7816 or eastside@lillienews.com.

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