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ST. LOUIS – On Sunday, the chapel at Christian Brothers College High School opened for anyone who wished to gather in prayer to mourn the loss of a student.

Matthew Nikolai
Matthew Nikolai

Matthew Nikolai was a third-generation Cadet. His father, uncle, and grandfather attended CBC. He was going to be a senior.

Nikolai lost his life Friday night when he was hit by a truck while trying to cross Chippewa. He was 17.

“Classmates are here and some from his grade school,” said Joe Henken, director of the school’s STEM program. “Just a chance for us to grieve as a community.”

This marks the second person killed near Ted Drewes on Chippewa.

A 75-year-old Washington University Medical School librarian was killed in May in front of the St. Louis Hills landmark.

“The instinct just took over,” said Kevin Putnam, a bystander who tried to help Nikolai. “Ran to my car. I was raised to keep medical supplies in my car. Grabbed what I could and ran back and instantaneously there were three other people there and did what we could to provide care for him.”

Between 3 p.m. and 5 p.m. Sunday, Nikolai’s classmates and teacher remembered the young man interested in robotics and coding.

“He was in the computer science honors society,” Henken said. “He was part of our robotics program and had some success there. A lot of things looking up. He was one of those kids that always challenged you to be a little bit better. He was a bright student, diligent, and we’ll miss him.”

Nikolai was struck by a pickup and thrown into the path of another car that also hit him. That vehicle stopped and the occupants cooperated with police. The driver of the pickup truck fled the scene.

Investigators are asking anyone with any information to contact the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department.