ALTUS, Okla. (TNN) - On Tuesday night, a family whose son died in a car crash last month just south of Altus said thank you to the first responders who tried to save his life.
The council chambers were packed as the family and community celebrated James Buentello’s life.
“He was mischievous, he was funny, he was silly, but he was kindest, most loving, forgiving kid you’d ever meet," said Dawn Buentello, the mother of the car crash victim.
Dawn Buentello said she and her family are still reeling from the loss of her son, but getting to thank the first responders who were there until his last breath was something she said she had to do.
“These people go day in and day out doing this job that can often times be thankless. They put their lives at risk, they are the first ones on the scene to help no matter the situation. We just really appreciate them,” said Buentello.
One first responder Dawn said she really wanted to thank was Trooper Josh Tinsley, who was the first person to arrive at the crash.
“Honestly I’ve been doing for thirteen years, and it still overwhelming when you come up on something like that. It was honestly a blessing that I could be there with James during those times,” said Trooper Josh Tinsley.
The Altus Vice Mayor gave special credit to Tinsley as well for what he did the night of June 7th.
“Josh Tinsley, of the Oklahoma Highway Patrol went above and beyond the call of duty promising James Buentello and James’ family that he would not leave his side. Josh was a source of strength and comfort for James’ during his final hours, and continues to give James’ family comfort knowing he was not alone," said Robert Garrison, the Altus Vice Mayor.
The relationship between Tinsley and the Buentello family didn't stop after the crash.
“Him and his wife have really drawn near to us. His wife is a nurse, and she has helped with my daughter’s wounds, and just been a pillar of strength for our family,” said Buentello.
TInsley said the Buentello family taking time to thank them is extremely special to him and the rest of the area first responders.
“It’s incredibly important to us, you know these people are still going through a horrific tragedy in their life. It’s important to us that they take time out of their lives to honor us today," said Tinsley.
Oklahoma Highway Patrol is still investigating the crash that killed James and sent 4 other minors to the hospital.
Troopers said because so many people were involved, it will take some time to finalize.