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Denver West High Wrestling Coach Dies In Crash

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Gil Chavez (credit: James Small)

Gil Chavez (credit: James Small)

DENVER (CBS4) – A wrestling coach from West High School in Denver was killed and his grandson was injured in an accident near the school on Wednesday.

Police say Gil Chavez and his grandson stepped in front of a car as the team bus prepared to leave for a meet during the evening commute.

The driver in the car stopped and helped out.

Chavez’s grandson — Gil Chavez III — reportedly has several broken bones from the crash.

Chavez had coached on the team since 1977. His role this season had been as a retired volunteer assistant coach. His son, Gil Chavez II, is the current head coach.

“At this point in time it doesn’t appear there will be charges. The driver didn’t stop, didn’t run. They attempted to render aid. They did what they could on their part,” said Denver police spokesman Sonny Jackson.

The West High School community was shocked to hear of the death of Chavez. A video monitor at the school paid tribute to his passing with pictures of his career as a coach.

denver west high school Denver West High Wrestling Coach Dies In Crash

Denver West High School (credit: CBS)

“Coach Chavez was definitely a landmark for the west side community. He grew up in the neighborhood, lived here many years and was a counselor here,” Denver Public School official Antonio Esquibel said.

“Coach Gil, he was like a father figure to me,” wrestler Adam Lee said.

“Since I was in school, trying to ditch, he said, ‘You have to get your education. You need to get your education,’ and he pushed me,” West High School Graduate Joshua Martinez said.

Current Denver City Councilman Paul Lopez told CBS4 he was deeply saddened by the loss.

“He understood where we came from, the obstacles that we had and did his best to help us believe in ourselves. And he believed in us as students,” Lopez told CBS4.

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