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Felder, Ridgewater football player, killed

Deallo Felder

For the second time in nine months, Ridgewater College football coach Rob Baumgarn had to tell his players that one of their teammates had died.

Deallo Felder, 20, of Minneapolis was pronounced dead at Rice Memorial Hospital in Willmar following a two-vehicle crash Wednesday morning at the intersection of Business Highway 71 and County Road 24 near the Health and Human Services Building and Law Enforcement Center. Felder was a passenger in a vehicle driven by another Ridgewater football player, Otimbum Wilson, 19, of Cleveland, Ohio. Wilson's vehicle was westbound when it collided with a southbound pickup driven by Keith Thompson, 52, of Raymond. Wilson and Thompson were treated and released at Rice Memorial Hospital.

Nearly nine months ago, cornerback Adam Milton was stabbed to death near his apartment in Willmar.

"Like Adam, Deallo was a magnet. Everyone liked him," said Baumgarn. "He had more charisma that anyone you've ever seen. He always said if he couldn't play football he was going to Hollywood. He wanted to be a comedian. He was like Bernie Mac with that big huge smile. He never got upset and always tried to find humor in everything."

Felder, who starred for Minneapolis Washburn High School, started his collegiate career playing for Vermilion last fall. But that school didn't agree with him and he chose to transfer to Ridgewater. He was academically ineligible to play here so he helped out the team with stats and practices while getting his schoolwork in order. He was eligible to play this season.

Wilson, a Division I-A linebacker last year for Kentucky State, transferred to Ridgewater and will play for the Warriors this fall.

"It's hard to put all this into perspective," said Baumgarn. "I try to tell the players not to dwell on the accident or the fact that (Felder) is gone. I want them to remember how fun he was to have around. If you dwell on the fact he died, it will eat you up."

Baumgarn said there were "20-something" players that showed up at the hospital Wednesday upon hearing about the accident.

"It shows how much Deallo and Otimbum mean to them," Baumgarn remarked. "It was nice to see so much support."