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Police still seeking hit-and-run driver who struck, killed a skilled Colorado parafencer

Victim in deadly hit-and-run identified as member of Denver parafencing team
Victim in deadly hit-and-run identified as member of Denver parafencing team 03:25

Police Monday night were still seeking the hit-and-run driver who hit and killed a pedestrian who suffered from a past traumatic brain injury Friday night at Kipling Street and West 23rd Avenue. Terre Engdahl survived a motorcycle crash years ago that left him partially impaired. He had permanent damage to his ability move his right side and other effects.

Terre Engdahl, left Denver Fencing Center

"It's not that his life was cut short. It's not that his mother lost a son. His father lost a son. It's not that I lost a teammate," said friend Jataya Taylor, who along with Engdahl competed in fencing events for people living with disabilities known as parafencing. "It's that he was snatched away by someone who couldn't even stop to hold his hand while he sat there. It's the fact that they're not brave enough to come forward and admit what they did, to give the rest of us some peace."

Lakewood Police

 Police continue to look for a black, 2014 Chevrolet Camaro and its driver after hitting Engdahl Friday at about 7:30pm. The driver drove off westbound on 23rd Avenue after striking Engdahl. There is heavy front end damage including the loss of the front driver's side headlight. The vehicle bore the license plate DWBP87. There is no report of it being stolen. Police have not indicated whether they have yet made contact with the owner of the vehicle.

Engdahl was well known at the Denver Fencing Center near Ruby Hill Park, where he usually visited four days of his week. He started about four years ago recalled other fencers and immediately took to it the first time he picked up a sword.

Photos on the wall of the Denver Fencing Center include pictures of Terre Engdahl.  CBS

"We had to tape it on and he was just so excited. He just wanted to keep going and keep going and keep going. We couldn't get him to stop," remembered Chris Sauthoff, program director for the Denver Fencing Foundation.

Sauthoff himself is a stroke survivor. He knows how difficult it can be having restricted use of one side, which was part of the effects Engdahl continued to deal with as he improved at fencing.


"He's pretty much everyone's favorite person in the club. Just because of his attitude and his friendliness and willingness to help." 

Putting sentences together was hard, much of Engdahl's communication came out in a single word or two. But fencing brought him a sparkle in his eye, said Sauthoff.

Sometimes Engdahl would arrive for day sessions on Friday and no other parafencers would be there yet, said Taylor.

"So he would be over with the able bodied, fencing them, just to get more fencing in."

Eventually he placed third in the parafencing nationals. Parafencing is done in wheelchairs, but Engdahl was not wheelchair bound. Friends say however that he would have been unlikely to be able to move quickly to evade an oncoming car.

It is hard for those who knew and cared about him to feel much empathy for the hit and run driver.

"Had they stopped and done anything, I could have forgiven them. But at this point it's really hard," said Sauthoff.

"I was like yeah, they'd better find that car before one of us does," said Taylor, clearly frustrated.

"I would hope that they might realize the error and turn themselves in. But running doesn't mean you're going to get away from what happened," she said of the guilt that will stay with the driver. "He took one of our best friends and an inspiration and a beacon of hope and light and proper attitudes."

Parafencing had become a passion for Terre Engdahl. It was a love he shared with the people around him. He was excited to others doing it as well. Monday, the specialized wheelchair he used was parked as his friends mourned the loss.

"The sad part is, now it's going to sit empty. None of our chairs should ever sit empty," said Taylor.

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