Over 100 Rutgers University students are camping out daily at Robert Wood Johnson Hospital and Medical Center in New Brunswick to keep vigil over a classmate who's been in critical condition since being hit by a car while crossing a street near campus early Saturday morning.
Friends and classmates of Timmy McDonnell, a 20-year-old junior from Holmdel, started a vigil in the hospital atrium to show his family their support since the accident.
"It gives me hope," said his mother Clare McDonnell.
The word spread through a Facebook page, Prayers for Timmy McDonnell. The crowds of students, including his old high school, Holmdel High, have been a fixture at the hospital, virtually around the clock.
They've celebrated their birthdays there and studied their homework as well.
Rutgers President Robert Barchi visited and told the students that as long as they were part of the unusual vigil, they could defer tests and homework until later, according to Timmy's father, Timothy McDonnell.
"This has been the most phenomenal experience of a university supporting somebody that I've ever heard of," McDonnell said.
Eric Italiano, one of the students participating in the vigil, said, "I know as soon as I get up, first thing I do is get dressed and come here."
Another student, Jacklyn Finger, who went to high school with McDonnell, said social media have had a big impact on the vigil and "definitely has made more people want to come," she said.
McDonnell's father said he has yet to hear any update on whether charges will be pressed against the driver.
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