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'It was a devastating scene': 6-year-old survives Arizona crash that killed parents, sibling

First responders came together to comfort a young boy after both of his parents and his 8-year-old brother were killed in a car crash west of Flagstaff.

ARIZONA, USA — Arizona first responders came together to comfort a 6-year-old boy after both of his parents and his brother were killed in a car crash west of Flagstaff last month.

On July 26, the Stone family was driving through Arizona on their way to California after attending a family reunion in Colorado when their sedan crossed the median, rolled, and collided head-on with a tractor-trailer traveling east on Interstate 40, the Arizona Department of Public Safety said.

Parents Brian and Alison and 8-year-old Oliver died on the scene. Six-year-old Alex was taken to a hospital with severe injuries.

“It was a devastating scene,” said Laurie Granger, an EMT volunteer with Kaibab Estates West Volunteer Fire Department, who was called out to assist at the scene. “I was pretty amazed there was a survivor.”

Alex injured all four limbs, which included a dislocated arm, broken hip, ankle, and leg, his grandmother Cindy Mason said.

Operation: ‘Cookie’

The wreck caused debris to go all over the highway. Crews cleaned most of it and recovered a teddy bear that belonged to Oliver.

Alex found comfort in his brother's stuffed animal, his grandmother said.

“When we told him about the accident, and his mommy and daddy and Oliver were in heaven, he grieved with Teddy, but he still constantly asked for Cookie,” Mason said.

The grandmother said Cookie is Alex’s beloved teddy bear, which has been with him since birth.

But Cookie was lost in the wreckage.

Nurses who were caring for Alex called the towing company, troopers, and firefighters in search of Cookie.

About four days after the crash, Jessica Puisis, a volunteer firefighter, got a call.

“Somebody contacted me and said that [Alex] was asking for a specific stuffed animal and wanted to know if any of us had seen anything or where it might be,” Puisis said. “It just kind of registered that I remembered that specific stuffed animal up on the hillside.”

She and other members of the Kaibab Estates West Volunteer Fire Department went back to the scene and found Cookie.

That same day Puisis and Tracy Zinn, a volunteer firefighter who assisted in the extrication of Alex and cradled him holding him until Lifeline arrived, personally delivered Cookie.

“He was super excited. He wouldn’t let it go,” Puisis said. “He would smile for a picture, but he wasn’t going to hold [Cookie] up. It was just on his chest, and that’s where it was staying.”

A simple act of kindness that did not go unnoticed

“In times like these, that’s what helps you feel supported,” said Patrick Mason, Alex’s uncle. “It’s comforting, it takes a weight out of your shoulders, and that really makes a difference.”

Alex is back in Bakersfield with his grandmother, where he has a long road to recovery, but thankful to have his beloved friend by his side.

“The day Cookie was delivered, Alex was sedated, so the next day, I asked him if he remembered the firefighters that dropped him off,” his grandmother said. “So sweet, he said, ‘I will always remember when something so special happens with Cookie'… What these firefighters did, that impact, he will never forget that.”

A GoFundMe account has been set up to help Alex and cover funeral costs. If you'd like to donate, you can do so here.

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