Medard Prosper's promising life cut short after he runs himself over with car

Prosper's life came to a tragic, flukey end yesterday.
Prosper's life came to a tragic, flukey end yesterday.

What a tragedy.

Medard Prosper, 19, lived through more than most of us could ever imagine -- he parents were killed in 2007 during the Democratic Republic of Congo's bloody civil war. His parents dead, Prosper and his six siblings embarked on a 500-mile journey to a refugee camp in Tanzania. Two younger sisters and a younger brother died in the process.

Thanks to the United Nations, Prosper and his surviving siblings ended up relocating to Minnesota. Prosper emerged as a standout, scholarship-winning student at St. Paul's Highland Park High School, where he was set to graduate this June. But yesterday, his promising life was cut short when he ran himself over with his own car and died.

About 5:30 yesterday evening, Prosper was alone in his car, driving east on the Highway 55 bridge into Mendota Heights when he blew out a tire. He continued to drive for a short distance, but then presumably panicked and decided to jump out of the moving car.

In the process, Prosper's foot got caught, causing him to fall onto the roadway and get run over by his car's rear driver-side wheel. He was declared dead at the scene.

"It's obviously a very unusual circumstance," said State Patrol spokesman Lt. Eric Roeske, adding that Prosper had a driver's permit requiring a licensed driver to accompany him.

In a Pioneer Press profile published last November, Prosper said he planned to pursue a college degree in international social services.

"I've been helped, and what I want to do is help others," he said.

Unfortunately, fate didn't afford him that opportunity. After all he and his family had lived through, Prosper's flukey death serves as a tragic reminder that none of us are destined to see tomorrow.

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