MU senior in serious condition after being hit by car

Thursday, March 27, 2008 | 9:49 p.m. CDT; updated 3:59 p.m. CDT, Tuesday, July 22, 2008

COLUMBIA — An MU student critically injured Wednesday night in Panama City Beach, Fla., was apparently crossing the street from a bar to his hotel when he was struck by a motorist, Panama City Beach police said Thursday.

Michael J. Maniaci, 22, who is a senior at MU, was crossing the road from a bar called Sharky’s to Seahavens Condominiums on 15201 Front Beach Road when he was struck by a car. The driver, Nicole Gilbert, 20, was not cited in the accident, according to Panama City Beach Police Chief David Humphreys.

Humphreys said police “do not anticipate any charges forthcoming” for Gilbert, who was returning from work when the crash occurred.

According to a post by his sister, Jenny Maniaci, on a Facebook group called “Prayers for Mike,” Maniaci underwent emergency surgery as a result of internal bleeding but was listed in serious condition afterward. His sister updated the group Thursday saying that her brother’s “pupils look more normal today” and that he is “involuntarily moving his arms in response to pain.”

“Apparently it is looking better than it was,” said Alex Monnig, a friend of Maniaci’s who played on the MU club volleyball team with him for three years. Monnig is also a reporter for Vox magazine.

“He is always upbeat, really intelligent and hardworking,” Monnig said. “He is active in Phi Kappa Theta and his business fraternity, Alpha Kappa Psi.”

People continue to join the Facebook group, which now has more than 1,000 members. Many of the posts offer prayers to him and his family and talk about fun times they have had in the past.

When contacted by phone, Maniaci’s mother said she didn’t want to talk to reporters.

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