A husband's final gift: Diamond ring lost and found after deadly crash

A husband's final gift: Diamond ring lost and found after deadly crash
Whiteville Fire Department was able to help find the ring David Stephens planned to surprise his wife with. (Source: Paige Brewer)
Whiteville firefighters use extrication tools to find the ring. (Source: Paige Brewer)
Whiteville firefighters use extrication tools to find the ring. (Source: Paige Brewer)

WHITEVILLE, NC (WECT) - With the help of firefighters, a business made sure a widow received a final gift from her husband who was killed in a car wreck.

According to the North Carolina Department of Labor, David Stephens, 50, a worker at International Paper in Riegelwood, was killed when his vehicle hit a logging truck after he clocked out of work on Feb. 21.

Stephens' truck was towed to Southern Tire & Muffler in Whiteville where workers retrieved some of his personal belongings for the family.

In the mangled truck that belonged to David Stephens, a few reflections of his life still remain: a golf ball, a pack of Okra seeds, and a wooden cross hanging from the rearview mirror.

"He was asked how was he doing that morning and he said if, 'I was any better, I'd be in heaven,'" said Paige Brewer, co-owner of Southern Tire.

Brewer did not know Stephens. She read about him on Facebook.

"Yesterday, the widow called me and asked me about a ring, and we couldn't find a ring," she said. "My brother had been through the wreckage three times and it was nowhere to be found."

A neighbor informed Stephens' widow that he purchased a diamond ring for his wife and had hid it in the truck before his death.

After looking through the truck several times, the staff was unable to find a ring. They called the Whiteville Fire Department to get help.

"I really didn't think it was going to be there. I just doubted it, but I promised his wife that we would look one more time," said Brewer.

The fire department went to the tow yard and used extraction tools to remove the passenger doors but was still unable to find the ring.

In a last ditch effort, firefighters pulled away the back seat and found a small green bag filled with shards of glass and the diamond ring.

"And there was the green bag with the ring," Brewer said. "It was just a very quiet moment. We just stood back there."

On Monday, Brewer was able to reunite Stephens' widow with the ring. She posted the story on Facebook.

"I cried and she cried and I told her I had her ring," Brewer said. "It just tugged on my heartstrings, and my heart just broke for her because we're not promised tomorrow."

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