SEBRING, Fla. (WFLA) – An 11-year-old boy who was stabbed Halloween night received a heartwarming welcome home from first responders.
“I think he realized at that moment that he was safe, that he had important people that are here for him, that could protect him,” said the boy’s father, Ryan Ward.
Highlands County deputies say that Zach was stabbed by a Colton Lee Driggers, of Lake Placid, who was staying as a guest at the home of the boy’s mother.
According to deputies, Driggers became angry because Zach was talking in his sleep, and Driggers couldn’t sleep.
Deputies said Driggers first beat Zach until his mother intervened. As Zach and his mother were running away, deputies tell News Channel 8 that Driggers chased after them and stabbed Zach three times.
Zach was in critical condition from his stab wounds, but miraculously made a recovery and was able to return home.
His father told deputies Zach was nervous about returning home, so first responders decided to make his return home a little less stressful.
“We wanted to make sure that Zack knew we had his back. He was obviously a little concerned about coming back home because of what happened, and we just really wanted to that let him know that we were there for him he had nothing to worry about,” Scott Dressel, of the Highlands County Sheriff’s Office, said.
The brave young man received a very special welcome home. Firefighters gave him a salute, deputies lined up to greet him and the EMS workers who helped save his life were also there, all glad he could return back home.
Ward said the gesture meant a lot to Zach and him.
“This is the first time he’s actually truly smiled since everything took place. As a father, it was very heartwarming to see that, and know that he could still find some joy despite everything that has happened to him,” he said.
Driggers is charged with attempted first-degree murder, among other charges.