South Jordan family mourns son whose wheelchair rolled into canal

Drew Roberts. Photo: Facebook

SOUTH JORDAN, Utah, Aug. 27, 2016 (Gephardt Daily) — A South Jordan family is mourning the loss of its positive, pensive teenage son, a recent graduate of Bingham High School, a young man who never wanted his disability or his wheelchair to define him.

An 18-year-old man who, in his poetry described himself as a “caring cripple ninja.”

“Drew always did things on his own terms and in death was no different,” said the obituary for Andrew Brook Roberts, 18, who drowned on Aug. 24. “He suffered from muscular dystrophy, but died in a tragic accident.”

Roberts was last seen at 4 p.m. that day, at his home, in the area of 3400 West and 10200 South. His family reported him missing at 8 p.m., just minutes before his uncle found the teen and his motorized wheelchair in a canal a few blocks from his home.

“The man liked to go for walks along the canal path, and so his uncle went out looking, and went down through that area,” said Lt. Matt Pennington, South Jordan Police Department. “His uncle pulled him out of the canal onto the bridge and administered CPR.”

With CPR efforts continuing, Roberts was rushed by ambulance to a nearby hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

The police were investigating whether the drowning was an accident or a suicide, but Roberts’ family is sure it was the former. They noted his love of activities, such as wheelchair soccer; for volunteering at kids’ digital media organization SpyHop; and for starting a club in high school to make apps and video games.

And he liked keeping in touch with friends on social media.

“He would put quotes and ideas on his Facebook just to get people to think and remember what was truly important in this life,” Roberts’ obituary says. “Drew was wise beyond his years, and always seemed to make people feel better.”

“Would your younger self be proud of you?,” he asked in a July 14 post.

And on June 29, Roberts posted an observation in playful style:

“S O M U C H T O D O S O M U C H T O S E E,” he wrote.

“S O L I T T L E T I M E,” a friend replied.

Roberts’ life will be celebrated at a service starting at 6 p.m. Tuesday at Starks Funeral Parlor, 3651 S. 900 East, Salt Lake City. For more details, click here.

The obituary also shared one of Roberts’ poems:

I am drew the calm and caring cripple ninja
I wonder where the squirrels go during hurricanes
I hear my own thoughts
I see everyone and everything
I want nothing
I am drew the calm and caring cripple ninja
I pretend life is light but life gets heavy
I feel chill so chill I’m frozen
I touch up high into the sky
I worry I’m wasting my time
I cry thinking of all the people who feel worthless
I am drew the calm and caring cripple ninja
I understand that life is not serious
I say it’s all good
I dream a million things but only do a few things
I try to do unexpected things
I hope I’ll get to do everything I want to do
I am drew the calm and caring cripple ninja.




  1. The MDA Family feels this loss… This family is so amazing, I hope and pray that they will find comfort in the coming days… Especially his uncle.

  2. So very sad! My prayers go out to the family for comfort and peace. I have two great nephews (brothers)
    that has this horrible disease and everyday is a challenge for them.

  3. My heart sheds tears for Drew and his family tonight. He was/is an amazing kid who worked hard to make the best of what his earthly life dealt him. When I think of what we mean by the Best of Bingham, he certainly comes to mind as worthy of that label. We will miss you Drew. Thank you for teaching us to appreciate the ease with which our healthy bodies get us through each day and to make the best of what we have. Your spirit and “can do” attitude have been an inspiration to all of us here at Bingham that were fortunate to get to know you. I can’t even imagine what an impact you will have when your wonderful spirit and initiative unite with your perfectly restored body. Look out heaven!


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