15 years after devastating crash, a special friendship continues

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by Stacey Delikat

azfamily.com

Posted on April 14, 2011 at 6:12 PM

MESA, Ariz. - Fifteen years after a devastating accident that left a pregnant woman dead and scores of others injured, Aubrey Farnsworth has a special place in her heart for the firefighter that saved her life.

On March 11, 1996, a truck carrying 18,000 pounds of gravel ran a red light, leaving a trail of death and destruction in its path.

The Farnsworth family's SUV was mangled beyond recognition. Inside, a mom and four kids were knocked unconscious and 5-year-old Aubrey lay crushed in a corner, barely breathing.

Mesa firefighter Paul Bourgeois, then 21, was one of the first people on scene. He approached the Farnsworth's vehicle and pulled Aubrey out, performing lifesaving CPR.

She would be in a coma for days before emerging with partial paralysis on her left side.

Today, 20-year-old Aubrey has undergone dozens of surgeries and made a remarkable recovery. Bourgeois has stayed in touch throughout it all.

The Farnsworth family and Bourgeois recently reunited at the scene of the accident at Val Vista and Broadway.

"I feel extremely lucky," said Aubrey, "I met a good friend, and I've stayed in touch with him for the past 15 years, and I couldn't be happier."

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