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Family of hit-and-run victim pleads for driver to come forward


The family of the Penhold teenager killed while longboarding this week is pleading for the person driving the vehicle that hit him to come forward.

Trystan Sorensen, 18, was killed in a hit-and-run collision five km west of Penhold on Tuesday at about 10:30 p.m.

Almost three hours after the crash, his mother, Amy Sorensen, got a knock on the door of her Red Deer home. She was greeted by three RCMP officers at 1:30 a.m. on Wednesday.

“They asked if they could come in,” said Amy.

“I asked why? Then I looked at them and thought, ‘Oh dear. What has happened?’ ”

Trystan had been longboarding with a friend on Hwy 592 west of Penhold and was hit by an eastbound vehicle. Trystan’s friend was not hurt.

Innisfail RCMP Staff Sgt. Chris Matechuk said the suspect knew what had happened and fled the scene. Police are looking for a blue Chrysler or Dodge SUV that was driven by a Caucasian female. The vehicle should have damage to the front passenger side.

Amy and her other son Harry Midgely are pleading for the person responsible to come forward, or anyone with information that may help police with their investigation.

Born in Squamish, B.C., Trystan faced challenges from day one. His legs were severely bowed inwards and he had to wear leg braces to adjust his legs for a long period of time.

“You have this little baby and they want to break his legs,” said Amy. “They put him in braces and they had to rotate his feet pointed outwards to counter it.

“He had to learn how to walk in those.”

Amy said even with all the challenges and doctors telling her and her son that Trystan would never run, he fought through it with a smile.

“He had a funky run, but he ran,” said Amy. “He was in constant pain because of the muscle disorders he had.”

Trystan was classified as multiply disabled and Amy had adult guardianship of him because he was easy to take advantage of.

Among his many disabilities, he had a muscle tone disorder, having only 24 per cent muscle tone compared to the average of 75 per cent.

He was also developmentally delayed, functioning at about a Grade 5 to 8 level.

“He had what I referred to as an extremely big bag of hammers working against him in life,” said Amy. “I tried to teach him that you work with what you have and if what you’re doing doesn’t work, then find another way to make it work.

“Yes, he had big challenges.

He was in extensive physiotherapy throughout his life, specifically high intensity swimming.

He would average about 30 to 40 hours a week of therapy after school and on weekends.

The swimming training paid off as Amy said twice Trystan saved lives of swimmers in distress at pools.

Midgely flew to Calgary from Squamish as soon as he could, arriving on Wednesday. Nine years older than Trystan, they lived together for 13 years growing up.

“Trystan was always a happy kid,” said Midgely. “Ever since day one he’s had a lot of challenges to face, it hasn’t been great to him.

“He pushed through the challenges and he was a happy kid through it all.”

Midgely had wanted Trystan to come move in with him last year, but the logistics never worked out.

“I just went through about 500 photos and there isn’t one where he isn’t cheery,” said Midgely.

Amy tells stories about how they would eat out together occasionally. They didn’t have much money at the time, but they’d get a $10 item and share it. Trystan would see a homeless person outside starving and ask Amy if they could get the homeless person something as well.

“I’d say ‘Trystan, I don’t have anymore money,’ and he literally would walk out of the restaurant with his plate and give them his meal and he’d come back in and say ‘I’ll come home and make a sandwich,’ ” said Amy.

Trystan attended Hunting Hills High School, working on his Grade 10. He had moved to Penhold to gain more independence. His mother Amy supported him the whole time.

“I was working in the background to make sure he was getting the opportunity to make decisions and grow,” said Amy.

“When he went to school, I would help at the school, but Trystan wasn’t made aware of it because that would have taken away from his opportunity to learn to be independent.”

A public viewing is scheduled for Monday at Parkland Funeral Home, 6287 67A Ave., from 6:30 to 9 p.m.

“I think about him all the time,” said Amy.

“I look at something, I see my son.”

Anyone with information is asked to contact the Innisfail RCMP at 403-227-3342 or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477.

mcrawford@reddeeradvocate.com

 

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