Family of Trevor Crouse, who died in Phoenix rappelling accident, describes heartbreaking loss

PHOENIX - Trevor Crouse liked a challenge.  

The 15-year old from Anthem competed in soccer, took pride in band, made straight A's, became an Eagle Scout at the age of 14 and had his sights set on West Point.

"I think he was going to change lives," said Trevor's dad Patrick.  "I think he would have done some things that I definitely would have been proud of, even more so than I already am."

Two weeks ago, Trevor went to work on his new set of skills, rappelling, with close family friend Gary Johnstone.

"You could call him a second dad to Trevor, great friend, good family, his son and Trevor were always together," said Patrick Crouse while sitting in his living room with a photo of Trevor next to him.

Trevor was excited at any opportunity to work on his rappelling.

"I mean he (Trevor) just became a monkey, he was so good at it and so confident," said Patrick.

Gary, an off-duty Phoenix firefighter, Trevor and another teen took to Camelback Mountain.

It was a clear sunny morning when emergency crews got the call about an accident.

First responders would quickly learn one of their own was badly injured, Gary was motionless on the ground.

Near Gary, Trevor was in trouble as well after the pair fell an estimated 30 feet.

Fire crews could be seen running with the gurneys downhill to awaiting ambulances.

Shortly thereafter, Sarah Crouse's phone rings.

"We were told he (Trevor) had a rappelling accident and he broke his leg," said Sarah.

Patrick Crouse, a Phoenix police officer, got the same call and rushed to Phoenix Children's Hospital and called his wife.

"I could tell in his (Patrick) voice it was much more serious than a broken leg," said Sarah while clinching a tissue. "When I arrived at the hospital I had an officer park me in the emergency center and she just literally ran me into the hospital and then my heart starts pounding and I am like 'something is seriously wrong.'"

Gary died and Trevor was fighting to survive with doctors working hard to keep him alive.

"I had to see his (Trevor) face, cause I'm like, that can't be my son," said Sarah.  "He (Trevor) fought hard for ten hours, in critical condition he fought hard, he was never stabilized and coded four times."

"The moment I saw Trevor, I was done, I mean there was no tough guy police officer in me, it was tough, yep, tough," said Patrick while wiping away tears.

Their only son, a person who had excelled at everything he did with a goal in life to protect others, was now struggling to live.

Sarah and Patrick now credit the doctors, paramedics and firefighters for working so hard to give them ten extra hours with Trevor.

"Because of them, we could hold his hand, tough his hair and talk to him," said Sarah.  "We got to say goodbye and we got to tell him we know he tried and it's ok and he doesn't have to try anymore."

"I am proud of him, proud of what he did, everything he did, he never quit at anything," said Patrick. "It was endless what he could do."

The Crouse's said they talk to the Johnstone's every day.

"It's sad for everyone, we're all dealing with it," said Sarah.

Another teen was injured in the accident, he is expected to be back at school as early as this week after recently being released from the hospital.

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