The victim in Monday’s fatal crash on Highway 5 was a senior at Dowling Catholic High School in West Des Moines.
Trevor Schwager, 18, of Clive, died after authorities said the pickup truck he was driving crossed the median near the Highway 65/69 interchange and collided with a straight truck.
Schwager was remembered for his positive spirit and leadership, the high school’s president, Dan Ryan, said in a message to parents. Schwager loved the outdoors, especially fishing and hunting, Ryan said.
At the time of the crash, Schwager was heading to a welding class at Des Moines Area Community College Southridge Center in Des Moines after a wrestling workout, Ryan said.
“Please keep Trevor, his family and friends, and the many people whose lives he touched in your thoughts and prayers. He will be greatly missed,” Dowling officials wrote on the school’s Facebook page Tuesday morning.
Dowling wrestling coach Kevin Stanley said Schwager was a three-year starter for the Maroons and described the 160-pounder as a popular and personable student who was always smiling.
“He was hands-down the life of the party,” Stanley said.
Stanley, who knew Schwager for about four years, said he was in disbelief of the news. Practice was canceled Monday out of respect for Schwager and his mourning teammates.
“The whole school was a wreck by the end of the day,” he said.
Schwager’s uncle, Mick Schwager, described his brother’s son as a free-spirited and polite teenager who loved working with animals on his Bellevue farm. He said his three sons looked up to Schwager, who Mick said loved to hunt, fish and work on his tractors.
“It was a very sad day for us,” Mick Schwager, 49, said. “You hear about these things happening, but you really don’t know how it feels until it actually happens to your family.”
One of Schwager’s friends, Luke Colosimo, said more than 200 people gathered Monday night at the family’s home in Clive to remember the teenager, filling the front yard and squeezing into the garage to talk with his parents.
Colosimo, 18, of Des Moines, said the group of mourners, many of whom cried, started with a prayer, singing “Amazing Grace” and passing around battery-powered candles.
On Tuesday, the high school held a prayer service at the beginning of the school day. Colosimo, who met Schwager in 7th grade but became close with him during their sophomore year, said he skipped because he thought he would become too emotional.
“I felt like if I went, I couldn’t stop crying,” he said.