Known for a love of extreme sports, Zach Trussell spent his time winning local motocross competitions when he wasn’t studying electrical engineering on campus or playing guitar and drums. Trussell, a senior engineering major from Anson, died in his residence on Saturday, Nov. 4, at the age of 24.
Zach could be seen on-campus wearing a backwards Fox hat, Blink 182 tee, tight grey skinny jeans and five piercings –one at the top of his inner lip. Growing up off a dirt road, Zach quickly learned you can be both smart and crazy at the same time. With a two-stroke, red bike, a partially ripped jersey and the cheapest boots he could find, Zach began to ride.
In an interview a year ago, Zach said he could reach over 25 feet into the air doing several tricks from the Can Can (legs off to the side of the bike) to the Cliffhanger (toes where the handlebars are). Zach said he merely hopes to land safely; or at least with very little broken bones. But, let’s be honest, fractures are part of the game.
“Once you’re in the air, you don’t care about anything,” Trussell said at the time. “You’re just so free.”
Bret Ellis, a friend and fellow rider, in an interview a year ago described him as a “maniac.”
“If you want to have a good time,” Ellis said. “Zach is the guy you should call. Anytime we want to try something new, and probably dangerous, Zach is the guinea pig for anything.”
Ellis said he once went with Trussell to the Kermit Sand Dunes in Odessa for a mini motocross trip.
“I remember we were both riding the dunes and all of a sudden, I see Zach do a flip and hit the ground,” said Ellis. “All he said was, ‘did you get that on tape?’ I laughed so hard and sadly had to say ‘no.'”
Darby Hewitt, assistant professor of engineering and physics, said he and other professors were shocked at the news and will miss Trussell’s easygoing presence in their classes.
“I never really experienced him being upset,” Hewitt said. “Zach was just sort of, a really happy person. We’re all going to miss having him around and seeing him in Bennett.”
Trussell took several of Hewitt’s classes because he had an interest in electrical engineering, Hewitt’s specialty. They also bonded over music, Hewitt said. He sent Trussell a recording of himself playing guitar, and Trussell recorded himself playing drums for the song.
“He had a lot of experience – probably a lot to do with his motorbike hobby – in getting his hands dirty and messing around with engines and stuff,” Hewitt said.
Trussell also pursued his love of electronics off campus at Best Buy, where he worked on installing car stereos, Hewitt said.
Funeral services took place Tuesday in Hawley. Trussell is survived by his parents, Darrell and Cindy Trussell; one sister, Meagen Trussell; a nephew, Jax Emerson; grandparents, Verlon Trussell and Jane and Andy Sandoval; three aunts, Juanita Burleson, Sherry Robertson, and Lesha Cole; two uncles, Michael Sandoval and Shane Trussell; and numerous cousins, according to an obituary in the Abilene Reporter News.