Friend Says Man Who Hit, Killed Jogger Has Brain Tumors

ST. PAUL, Minn. (WCCO) — A friend of the man accused of hitting and killing a jogger in St. Paul last week says doctors found lesions in his brain.

The St. Paul lawyer is now in the hospital following his release from jail, which revealed Tuesday evening primary glioblastoma brain cancer.

Mike Salovich, from St. Paul, told WCCO Peter Berge had an MRI Friday shortly after being released from jail.

Saolvich said Berge began feeling weak on one side of his body and was unable to play his guitar, unusual for the avid musician. The MRI revealed four lesions in Berge’s brain, according to Salovich.

A St. Paul police report says officers suspected 60-year-old Berge was under the influence of drugs or alcohol and on his cellphone Wednesday night when he hit and killed 35-year-old Scott Spoo, who was running on Mississippi River Boulevard. Friends of Berge say he would never drink and drive.

“He had always been responsible,” Savanna D’Amico, Berge’s friend, said. “I’ve never met his equal in terms of his integrity, his compassion, his generosity.”

Peter Berge (credit: CBS)

Peter Berge (credit: CBS)

A search warrant revealed officers believed Berge was impaired at the time of the crash. It states he struggled to complete tests following the accident, where he “hopped, swayed” and “put his foot down three times.” He also showed body and leg tremors.

A breath test showed no alcohol in Berge’s system after the crash.

“There are lots of parts of our brains that allow us to be able to walk, it’s one of the most complex movements we have,” Dr. Katie Esse, a neurologist at Hennepin County Medical Center, said.

Dr. Esse is not associated with the case, but said tumor can influence balance.

D’Amico, who was at the hospital with Berge Tuesday, said he’s waiting on biopsy results if the lesions are cancerous.

Berge’s friends say they don’t know if any health issues contributed to the accident, but they are devastated for both families involved..

“Our hearts are broken for Scott Spoo’s family and friends,” D’Amico said.

St. Paul Police say they are still investigating the incident and are waiting on Berge’s toxicology results.

Friends of Spoo have set up a memorial fund in his honor. Some of the donations go to groups that support efforts to ban most cellphone use while driving

A funeral for Spoo will be held at the New Richmond United Methodist Church at 11 a.m. Wednesday.

More from Kate Raddatz
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