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Carter Crutchfield: Saved After the Fall

CBN.com College buddies Carter Crutchfield and Patrick Dauphin went camping in north Alabama with a few friends.

Patrick remembers it well. “I found the perfect, most beautiful campsite, right over this 60 foot valley, and I thought it would be perfect.”

Everything was going as planned. The tents were up. The campfire was burning.  

“Then the fire starts to die down, and that’s where the incident starts to happen,” says Patrick.

The guys split up to look for more firewood.

“I had a big limb that I put behind the fire and so I was jumping on top of it, to try to get it to crack,” says Carter.  “And either one of two things happened. One was I couldn’t get it to break and it acted as a springboard and threw me backwards, or it broke before I was expecting and then it cracked and then I fell backwards after losing my balance.”

“I knew something was wrong and I looked up and Carter wasn’t to be seen,” says Patrick. “So I knew immediately what had happened.”

Carter fell sixty feet into the river below, bouncing off a smaller ledge on the way down.

“I told Miller to immediately go get cell phone service and try to call for help,” says Patrick. “It took me two minutes to get down to that smaller ledge, and realized he wasn’t there.  So I immediately backtracked, ran back through. So I finally, after 3-4 minutes, made my way back to the river.”

Carter wasn’t floating so Patrick searched under the water.
“After two or three times of feeling, I kicked something, some movable object,” says Patrick. “I knew what it was. I brought Carter to the surface. It didn’t even look like Carter. From that moment on, I thought he was dead.”

Patrick and Keith pulled carter to the edge of the water.  Patrick started CPR.

“Eight minutes past, and I was getting tired,” says Patrick. “Keith Gray and I swapped positions. I held him up on the rock, held his neck stable, and he began the chest compressions. After a few more minutes, we swapped again. Then we heard this gurgling noise. It sounded, it was just like a –almost like a drain. Water going down a drain.”

They did CPR for twelve minutes, until Carter started to breath. Then he only took one shallow breath per minute. Carter’s shoulder blade was visible.  His ear was partially torn off.  But the most life-threatening injury was two collapsed lungs. The paramedics and a helicopter arrived forty-five minutes after the accident.  At the hospital, the doctors had Carter’s parents fill out organ donor forms.

Carter’s father, Bob remembers it like it was yesterday. “The surgeon basically told us that his condition was grave and that his chances of survival were slim,” says Bob.  “We’re guessing that he was oxygen deprived somewhere between twenty minutes or more. So, it was a long time. The guidance that we were being given from the medical staff early on was that some level of serious cognitive impairment was to be expected.”

Carter made it through the night.  But Patrick and Carter’s dad knew prayer was their only hope.

“Right when we got there, Mr. Crutchfield led us into a prayer,” says Patrick.  “He started a website, posting at a website, called CaringBridge.org, where he posted Carter’s updates and put specific things to pray for.”

“We’d only put four or five specific requests each update,” says Bob.  “But here’s where the miracle was, is that each, and I’m going to get emotional because, between each update, the specific requests were being answered.  So there’s no question that He was hearing, He was answering our petitions.”

“Every single prayer, everything he said to pray for actually miraculously came true,” says Patrick.  “I think I looked one time and he had been posting for a couple of days and there was over 1300 responses.”

There was this intimacy that I can only envision as being as what Heaven is going to be like in some way,” says Bob.  “Because you just had this, you knew these people were praying for you and your family.  And there was the common bond of Christ that was connecting us.”

After two weeks, Carter woke from his coma. 

“He was himself when he woke up,” says Bob.  “It was truly, from our perspective, miraculous.”

“I feel like it really was a miracle just for the simple stats that the doctors gave and the chances they gave me for survival,” says Carter. “Just falling sixty to sixty-five feet off a cliff, and surviving.  I feel like the fact that God let me survive and gave that opportunity to me is a miracle.”

“God heard all these prayers on our behalf to pray for our son, and He answered them, to His glory,” says Bob.

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