After the accident, the family won a lawsuit and received a $4 million trust to take care of their son's medical expenses.
"We were told to bring him home and make his life count and to make him happy, because he wasn't going to live very long," said his mother.
Nursing care -- four a day working 92 hours a week -- has cost the family $300,000 to $500,000 year.
With the medical expenses and the economic downturn, the trust fund ran out, dashing any hopes for further education, seeking the second opinion of new psychiatrists or even a legal fight against the hospital.
The family has applied for Medicaid and worries Crews might end up in a nursing home.
"I would be lying if I said money was not a part of it, but that's never been the only reason," said Crews. "I am just tired of living like this."
Only in the last several years has he become despondent, mostly over the mounting bills that have overwhelmed his family.
He insists he will not change his mind about dying, unless someone can "donate millions and millions of dollars and help pay off my major debt."
Crews and his mother owe more than $100,000 to the hospital and are behind on their mortgage and utility bills. His mother can't work because she helps care for her son, along with the two nurses.
Cheryl Crews, who is 60, is willing to stand by her son. "In the end, if this is what he wants, I have promised to support him," she said.
His parents are divorced and a 31-year-old brother, who lived with them, is soon leaving home.
His father, Gerald Crews, told ABCNews.com that he cherishes his son, and couldn't accept his decision to die, a sentiment shared by total strangers who have responded to Crews' story.
One woman from Seattle wrote Crews, "The world is in need of you."
"Please never give up hope," wrote another with no return address. "Please never give up hope. It's the reason you were put on this earth."
Another man from Boulder, Colo. sent photos and shared his love of sports with Crews, who is a Denver Broncos and Chicago Bulls fan. "I was touched by your story," he wrote. "I hope your Thanksgiving was nice."
"I am so sorry your life is so difficult," wrote a woman from Fort Worth, Texas, whose husband killed himself after a cancer diagnosis. "I really encourage you. Your life has great value beyond understanding."
One of her co-workers was a quadriplegic after an accident, and she wrote, "He was so inspirational for me and others."
"You are thinking your condition might not have impact or value in the future," she wrote. "But that is a lie. You made an impact on me that I stopped what I was doing to write you."
Crews, who has an independent streak and droll sense of humor, dismissed a suggestion that he could help other quadriplegics.
"I don't like talking to paralyzed people," he said. "They are too self-pitying."
For now, Crews is adamant about removing the ventilator, but continues to show an interest in his favorite television shows, "Big Bang Theory," and "NCIS."
He likes music from the 50s and 60s and his favorite movie is the 2004 film, "National Treasure."
The letters and thoughts from strangers are surprising, but welcome.