A community is mourning the death of a 52-year-old Faribault woman who died after being struck by a sheriff's deputy over the weekend.
Stephanie Marie Wesley, of Faribault, died early Saturday after the Minnesota State Patrol says Rice County Sheriff's deputy Trevor Peterson hit her with his squad car. Wesley died at the scene.
Peterson, 46, of Faribault, was driving eastbound on Morristown Boulevard/Highway 60 at 2:03 a.m. when he hit Wesley near Holland Avenue. The Minnesota State Patrol says Wesley was suspected of being in the road when she was hit and killed.
Authorities say Peterson was on routine patrol and wasn't responding to an emergency at the time.
Those who knew Wesley are mourning her death, with a Go Fund Me saying her friends and family are "devastated." Wesley, a mother of two and grandmother of three, is described as a friend who was there for everyone.
Wesley's longtime friend Tesse Lynn Lester said she's "heartbroken" over Wesley's death, describing her as "incredible" and "down to earth."
"She loved hard, she loved many, and she wore her heart on her sleeve. Her kids and grandkids were her life, and you knew if you had Steph in your corner, you were going to be OK," Lester said in a Facebook post.
She had a "smile that lit up a room," as well as a contagious laugh, Lester added, noting Faribault won't be the same without her, calling her a "staple" in the town.
The fundraiser was created to help her family pay for funeral expenses. It notes Wesley was disabled and didn't have life insurance or property that could be used toward a funeral for her.
The Minnesota State Patrol is investigating the crash that killed Wesley.
Note: Some of the details provided in this story are based on law enforcement's latest version of events, and may be subject to change.