Rescuers become "part of the family" after saving kids from a deadly car crash

Rescuers become "part of the family" after saving kids from a deadly car crash
Eli Killingsworth hands a 'thank you' plaque to John Holyfield, the man who helped rescue him and his brothers (Source: WLOX)

OCEAN SPRINGS, MS (WLOX) - "It's definitely affected me deeply."

That's the only way Kyle Davidson could describe the weeks following a deadly car crash in Jackson County. Davidson was one of the people who pulled three young boys from the wreckage that killed their mother, Ashley Killingsworth.

The boys' family brought the four rescuers together in Ocean Spring's Little Children's park to show their appreciation, but if you ask any one of them, they won't let you call them heroes.

"I'm not a hero, just somebody that was in the right place at the right time to help out," replied Bradley. Their 'thank you' plaques say otherwise. It's right here in big, bold, black letters: HERO.

It's been an emotional journey for everyone involved. But this gathering allowed them to see the brighter side of the situation. "It's a good feeling to know that they are alright now and that they're doing good," said John Holyfield, one of the rescuers.

After leaving the hospital in a wheelchair, 6-year-old Gabe Martin was having the time of his life today at the park. He played on the brand-new equipment and did not let the casts on his right arm and leg slow him down.  

"He's great, it didn't take him long being stuck in a hospital bed. As soon as he got his more permanent cast on, it was a day or two in the wheelchair and that was it. Now it's just trying to keep him from wearing out the cast," said Matthew Martin, Gabe's father.

Gabe's little brother Eli wanted everyone to know that he is ok too. He spoke softly, but he said that he went to the doctor and is all better know.

The climate of the day could be summed up with just one word. "Heartwarming," said Holyfield. "It made me feel good. This is a good family, a big family."

Since the accident. the boys have been split up and are each living with their dads. That is a big change from what their used to, six brothers growing up in one house. Their family says they owe it to their mom Ashley to keep the boys together.

"On the weekends, our goal is to get all the boys together because that's what they've all known," said Kristen Epperly, the boys' aunt. "They've always lived together so we want to do whatever we can, and get them to the park and play and meet at someone's house. We'll do the best we can so that they can be together as much as possible."

They say they have a bigger family now, and when the days get difficult they'll remember that family is the strongest foundation to lean on. It won't be much longer until little Gabe is out of his casts. He goes back to school on Monday for the first time since the accident.

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