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Man who helped toddler after crash sought

Logan Davis, 4, pictured with his mother, Lisa Celestre, is recovering from a car accident that killed his father.
Logan Davis, 4, pictured with his mother, Lisa Celestre, is recovering from a car accident that killed his father. Unknown

The lower half of Logan Davis' little body is encased in a cast. But the 4-year-old Modesto boy "has been a little trouper" his aunt said Thursday, after the playground truck crash that killed his father.

Police, meanwhile, are looking for the bystander who held Logan's hand and comforted the little boy after the accident. And officers are raising money to help Logan's family.

Leland Davis, 39, died in the crash at Sonoma Park on Tuesday morning. Witnesses told police his white Toyota pickup, going north on McGuire Drive, veered off the road. The truck flew 10 to 20 feet in the air and hit a tree, then came to rest near playground equipment. Several children were in the park, but weren't hurt.

Some neighbors ran to the scene and tried to help father and son. According to police, one man heard a small voice from inside the truck crying for his dad. The man reached in and a tiny hand grabbed his, holding tight as Logan begged, "Please don't let me go."

An arriving firefighter took over for the man, holding the little boy's hand for about 15 minutes while rescuers worked to get him out of the truck.

Authorities would like to talk to the man, Sgt. Brian Findlen said Thursday. They would like to thank him and get some information for their investigation.

The Stanislaus County coroner's office conducted an autopsy, but it still wasn't clear what caused the accident, Findlen said. Family members said Davis had a medical condition that caused him to have seizures.

"He took medicine that allowed him to keep his driver's license," Kimberly Davis said of her brother, a tree trimmer for the California Department of Transportation. "But (a seizure) is what we believe happened."

Kimberly Davis said her brother was taking Logan to day care when the accident happened.

Logan was taken to the University of California Medical Center in Sacramento; he was released Thursday. Kimberly Davis said though doctors ran several tests, Logan escaped with only a badly broken leg.

"They gave him the double cast. He's pretty grouchy about that." Still, she said, Logan is doing as well as can be expected. "He's charmed a lot of people."

Kimberly Davis did not know whether Logan realizes that his father is dead. "It's hard to tell with a 4-year-old." Earlier reports had listed Logan's age as 5.

Logan will be in the cast for six weeks, then, if X-rays show his bones have healed, it will be removed.

Kimberly Davis said the rest of the family is pitching in to help care for Logan, but his mom, Lisa Celestre, will have to take time off from her job at Rite Aid. HELP of Stanislaus County, a nonprofit organization created by local law enforcement agencies, is raising money to help the Davis family make ends meet.

Kimberly Davis said the family has hopes Logan will recover completely.

"He's a wonderful, active little boy," she said. "He loved his daddy. He loves his family, and he loves playing."

Police ask anyone with information on the man who helped Logan to call officer Romel Cuellar at 572-9592.

Donations for "Logan's Fund" can be made payable to HELP of Stanislaus County at the Modesto Police Department or by mailing a check to P.O. Box 579595, Modesto, CA 95357. Donations also will be accepted at Valley First Credit Union for "Logan's Fund."

Bee City Editor Patty Guerra can be reached at 578-2343 or pguerra@modbee.com.

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