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Arizona man speaks about crash that nearly killed his wife, son

The accident occurred as the two were returning home from a team roping competition. Learn how to help a family member recover from a serious injury.

COOLIDGE, Ariz. — February 14 will be a day that will be remembered for all the wrong reasons for the Coolidge family, as everything changed in a matter of seconds.

“They were lucky to survive,” Steve Sherwood said.

That day, Sherwood's wife, Lee, and their 28-year-old son, Cole, had won a team roping competition in Eloy. Lee and Cole got into the car to go home, but Steve remained in the car to talk to her close friend. Soon after, Steve also got into his friend's car and headed home.

“We were about five minutes behind,” he said. “I was traveling north on Arizona State Route 87 when I saw what appeared to be an accident in front of me.”

Sherwood said her instincts immediately told her something was wrong. He saw his family's car and ran.

RELATED: Head-on collision in Pinal County leaves 3 seriously injured

“The first thing that came to mind was that it could have been my wife and son who went down that road,” he said. “I did have a hunch, and I wish I didn't, but in this case, I did. I went up there and saw them, and they were both a mess, if I may say so. Their feet. It was bent in a way it wasn't supposed to be.''Maybe his son's arm was broken and the bone was sticking out.'' ”

Sherwood said the two were conscious and talking, but in poor health. He worked quickly to keep them safe and alive.

“My son was very responsive,” he said. “He said, 'Dad, his arm is broken and the bones are sticking out, and I think he's going to die.' It certainly wasn't a great moment and it was very difficult.”

Coolidge Police told 12News two vehicles collided head-on on Highway 87 near Arica Road just before 4 p.m. Both vehicles suffered catastrophic front end damage and the occupants were extricated from the vehicles. The driver of the other vehicle was also seriously injured.

“I have seen the police report, but it is incomplete as the investigation is ongoing,” Sherwood said. “But apparently he looked down to check a message or look at his phone, and when he looked up the brake lights were off, so he didn't have time to stop and his reaction was to stop the car. The idea was that he swerved. Unfortunately, that's what he did.''The wife was heading north as she came into oncoming traffic and didn't have time to react. ”

All three were taken to a nearby hospital where they died. Sherwood said he has been hospitalized since the accident to be near his son and his wife.

“As a father you want to take care of your children, and as a husband you want to take care of your wife,” he said. “The hardest part is not being able to do anything except hold their hands.”

Mr Sherwood said his wife suffered multiple fractures to her femur, ribs and skull. Their son has come a long way, too, he says.

“There's something worse about him,” Sherwood said. “He's had some troubles, but he's progressing and doing well.”

Sherwood says it was the generosity of friends, family and even strangers that got her family through this nightmare. People are constantly checking in on them, bringing them food, and helping in any way they can. He says Mr. Sherwood is speechless.

“It was great to see,” he said. “If we can get just one message across, we're very grateful to the people. We have a long way to go, but we'll get through this. There's no need to be negative and say, 'Why us?' You might want to.'' But sometimes the ball rolls, you have your turn to have bad luck, and you grow from it and become stronger, and I think we will. ”

A GoFundMe has been set up to help the family with medical expenses.If you want to donate, you can do so. here.

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