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UGA students honored after saving lives in Burke County car accident

L-R) President Jere W. Morehead presented a proclamation for the life saving heroism displayed by freshman students Eleanor Cart, Kaitlyn Iannace, Jane McArdle, Clarke Jones and Molly McCollum along with Dean of Students Eric Atkinson and Assistant to the President Rod Guajardo. (Andrew Davis Tucker/UGA)

UGA Today

The University of Georgia on Tuesday honored five students who heroically jumped into action to save a woman and two children after the woman’s car veered into a creek in rural Burke County.

On March 15, while on their way to Savannah to enjoy St. Patrick’s Day, Jane McArdle, Molly McCollum, Eleanor Cart, Clarke Jones and Kaitlyn Iannace, all first-year students at UGA, witnessed an SUV veer off the road and into Briar Creek in Sardis.

Without hesitation, the five students turned their car around to help. Two of the women quickly entered the water to get the victims to safety while the others gathered supplies and communicated with emergency responders.

“I am so proud of these heroic students and their exemplary act of courage and teamwork,” said UGA President Jere W. Morehead, who presented the students with an official proclamation emphasizing the university’s gratitude for their teamwork and bravery. “They represent the very best of the University of Georgia.”

Clarke, a trained lifeguard, performed CPR on one of the children who was unresponsive during the rescue.

“We’re just so happy we were in the right place at the right time,” Clarke said.

In a release by the Sardis Police Department, the students were commended for their selfless courage.

“Inspired by courage, defined by compassion, the heroic actions of these five UGA students embody the spirit of community and selflessness,” said Michelle Cook, vice president for student affairs at UGA. “Their bravery serves as an example of the boundless capacity for kindness within us all.”

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