SURPRISE, AZ — 16-year-old Tripp Haney was a sophomore at Willow Canyon High School in Surprise. He died in an ATV crash Monday that hospitalized another 16-year-old.
"I would want him to know that it was my honor to be his mom and that 16 years was not enough," says Tracy Haney, Tripp's mom. "We just found out in the last couple days how many people he impacted. His phone has just been nonstop... message after message, after message talking about how funny he was and how he helped them with this or helped them with that."
Tripp had just gotten the ATV a few weeks ago and was learning how to ride. He crashed near 179th Avenue and Deer Valley Road.
"Part of me died with him on Monday but, we will remember him and honor him always," says Tripp's mom.
His parents want everyone to know how much Tripp was able to accomplish in his 16 years. He received all A's at school, played on the golf team and worked as an umpire with his dad, who he nicknamed 'Blue,' for club baseball.
"I think the fact that all these parents, on these teams, are just heartbroken too... just says a lot because, I just think all the kids, he just had a special connection," Tracy says.
One of the team moms even made a shirt for Tripp's mom on Mother's Day. Some believe he was meant to make umpiring a career.
"I mean, he had worked with minor league umpires and college umpires and impressed them," says Kelly Haney, Tripp's dad.
The community has shown an outpouring of support with cards, meals, flowers and kind words.
"He cared about other people more than he cared about himself sometimes, honestly," says Abigayle Francis, Tripp's best friend.
Francis went to school with Tripp and made him a promise.
"I just want him to know that he will always be my best friend, no matter what," says Francis.
That means so much during this difficult time.
"He was loved by so many people, probably even more than we know," says Tracy.
A GoFundMe has been set up to help the family.
Funeral services for Tripp will be held Sunday, September 25 from 3 to 9 p.m. at Thompson Funeral Chapel in Goodyear [928 S Litchfield Road].