6-year-old Mississippi girl honored for rescue efforts after her mother had a stroke while driving

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In this photo provided by Angie Craddieth, Bryanna Cook, right, a 6-year-old first grade student, is shown with Latonya Malone, a 911 dispatcher for Lowndes County, Miss., on Wednesday, Nov. 15, 2023, in Columbus, Miss., Bryanna was honored by Lowndes County supervisors for her bravery in helping Malone direct emergency responders to find the car that the child and her mother were in after her mother had a stroke while driving in a rural area. Bryanna’s mother was hospitalized and is recovering. (Angie Craddieth via AP)

COLUMBUS, Miss. (AP) — A 6-year-old Mississippi girl is being honored for helping emergency responders find her family’s car after her mother had a stroke while driving in a rural area.

Bryanna Cook is a first grader at Fairview Elementary School in Columbus, and Lowndes County supervisors have adopted a resolution to honor her bravery, the Commercial Dispatch reported.

Bryanna and her mother, Yolanda Cook, were headed to see Bryanna’s grandmother in Preston on Oct. 23 when Cook had a stroke while driving on Mississippi Highway 21 between Shuqulak and Macon. After the car stopped in the woods, Cook became unresponsive and Bryanna grabbed her mom’s cellphone.

“I was scared, so I called my grandmother, and my mom wouldn’t wake up,” Bryanna said Friday.

Her grandmother told her to call 911. Bryanna first spoke to a Noxubee County dispatcher, who connected her with Lowndes County dispatcher Latonya Malone.

Bryanna then helped Malone and first responders in Noxubee and Lowndes counties by describing her surroundings, how far the car was from the road and the condition of her mother, who was otherwise uninjured.

Malone said that while she had Bryanna on the 911 line, she used her cellphone to talk to Bryanna’s grandmother.

“Bryanna was able to tell us where they were going and the grandmother helped, too, because she told us around where they were at the time” based on when they left home, Malone said.

Over the next two hours, while first responders looked for the pair, Bryanna stayed on the phone and followed Malone’s instructions.

Bryanna said she opened the doors to give her mother some fresh air and, “I tapped her on the face to see if she would wake up, but she didn’t.”

Information from Bryanna and her grandmother eventually brought first responders to the car, Malone said. Cook was taken to the Macon hospital before being airlifted to North Mississippi Medical Center in Tupelo.

Bryanna stayed with her mother at the hospital until Cook was released Oct. 31.

“Her teachers and the school principal were all very supportive,” Cook said.

“I helped my mom because I saved her,” Bryanna added. “At the hospital, I helped her get out of bed and walked with her down the hallways because I love her.”

When county supervisors honored Bryanna, Malone got to meet her in person.

Fairview Principal Monte Ewing-Johnson said Bryanna displayed values the faculty try to instill in students.

“The level of joy my heart felt when I learned of Bryanna’s heroism is immeasurable,” she said. “Bryanna is kind, compassionate and patient with her classmates; therefore, it is not hard to believe that she was able to call 911 and wait as she and her mom were rescued.”

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Cover Photo: In this photo provided by Angie Craddieth, Bryanna Cook, right, a 6-year-old first grade student, is shown with Latonya Malone, a 911 dispatcher for Lowndes County, Miss., on Wednesday, Nov. 15, 2023, in Columbus, Miss., Bryanna was honored by Lowndes County supervisors for her bravery in helping Malone direct emergency responders to find the car that the child and her mother were in after her mother had a stroke while driving in a rural area. Bryanna’s mother was hospitalized and is recovering. (Angie Craddieth via AP)

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