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Winter 2004

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Life-savers

Good luck and good instincts helped save a life in September. Five members of Skidmore’s Ultimate Frisbee club, the Wombats, were driving to Rochester, N.Y., for a game. It was about 6 a.m. when they witnessed a head-on collision of a Chevrolet Cavalier and a tow truck. While one student called 911 and another ran to a nearby home for help, two others pulled the Chevy driver, nineteen-year-old Jennifer Martin, from her car just before it caught fire. “If it wasn’t for those guys, she would have died,” one paramedic said.

The plucky students—David Frazier ’04, Matthew Gershun ’06, David Lyons ’04, David Williamson ’04, and Ian Williamson (no relation) ’06—comforted Martin, who was injured and confused, until the ambulance arrived. When they first approached the Chevy, Lyons and Ian Williamson saw flames around the car’s hood. “It was just quiet. That was really unsettling,” Williamson recalled. Martin was slumped over and they hesitated to move her, but when the fire jumped to the passenger seat they quickly pulled her out of the car. The students carried her several yards away, and when they looked back the car was consumed in flames. “We just felt lucky that we acted in the right window of time,” Williamson said.

After interviews with police, the students continued on their way to Rochester—where they discovered their game was actually scheduled for the following day. Bad luck for them. Good luck for Martin, who was airlifted to Albany Medical Center with a broken femur and internal injuries.

Martin’s father quickly tracked down the good Samaritans at Skidmore and expressed his thanks. The Saratogian, calling the students’ heroism “a welcome surprise” in today’s litigious culture, quoted Martin’s cousin: “How often does that happen in this world? It was a great thing they did.”


Adapted, with permission, from a story by Brendan McGarry in the Saratogian of September 17, 2003.

Editor's note: In October the five students were honored in a ceremony that included a state assemblyman, the state police, Saratoga's deputy mayor, two ambulance squads, and Martin and her family.



 


© 2004 Skidmore College