Naval training pays off at North Augusta crash

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A Navy reservist says he was just "doing what (he) was trained to do" when he pulled an unconscious woman from her burning vehicle.

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Iry Jernigan Jr., a Navy reservist, cut the set belt and helped carry a woman from her burning car. "I was just glad she was OK," Jernigan said of Mary Chad, whose 1993 Buick LeSabre hit a utility pole on Georgia Avenue.  Michael Holahan/Staff
Michael Holahan/Staff
Iry Jernigan Jr., a Navy reservist, cut the set belt and helped carry a woman from her burning car. "I was just glad she was OK," Jernigan said of Mary Chad, whose 1993 Buick LeSabre hit a utility pole on Georgia Avenue.

Iry Jernigan Jr. said he observed Mary Chad "shaking" and her hands off the steering wheel shortly before her car veered into a utility pole on Georgia Avenue and caught fire Friday.

Jernigan said he and some others stopped to check on Chad, who was driving a 1993 Buick LeSabre toward Augusta about noon.

"When I got to the door, there were flames under the hood," Jernigan said.

"The window happened to already be down, so it was easy to get the door open."

Jernigan, trained by the Navy in emergency response, had a tool that cuts seat belts.

He cut the belt, then he and another bystander carried Chad away from the burning car, making sure to support her head and back as they laid her in a grassy area.

As law enforcement began to arrive, Jernigan said he tried to direct traffic around the burning car, which came to rest in the outer westbound lane of Georgia Avenue.

When he observed Chad talking with emergency medical technicians, Jernigan said he continued on with the errand he'd been on -- to cash a check and get a haircut.

"I was just glad she was OK," said Jernigan, who is pursuing a biology degree at Paine College.

Chad said Sunday that she did not recall the wreck, her rescue or the conversation she had with North Augusta Public Safety.

Chad, who told officers she has epilepsy, said Sunday that she had not had a seizure in "a very long time."

To Jernigan, she offered: "Thank you very much. My daughter and my son both appreciate it."

The experience leaves Chad unwilling to get back behind the wheel "for a long time," she said.

Chad had cared for her mother until her death in November and was returning Friday to Medical College of Georgia, where she'd stayed Thursday night with friend Jerry Ridgell, who was recovering from bypass surgery.

Ridgell, speculating that Chad was dehydrated and hadn't slept well the night before, said he and Chad spoke briefly when she arrived in the emergency room.

Comments (18) Add comment
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harrisjr
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harrisjr 07/26/10 - 07:31 am
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Way to go Iry . Refreshing

Way to go Iry . Refreshing to see someone saving a life vs taking one.

humbleopinion
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humbleopinion 07/26/10 - 07:35 am
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Obviously overaugusta doesn't

Obviously overaugusta doesn't have any belief in a higher power. This could be merely a coincidence or it could have been divine intervention. God has a hand in all of our lives every day. Some of us reach for it and others slap it away..........

curly123053
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curly123053 07/26/10 - 07:57 am
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The good Lord put this man in

The good Lord put this man in the right place at the right time. God bless him for wanting to get involved and help.

ldsmith1
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ldsmith1 07/26/10 - 07:58 am
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No doubt God had His eye on

No doubt God had His eye on Ms. Chad. Kudos to Mr. Jernigan and to the U.S. Navy who trained him well! A strong military benefits us all in many, many ways.

Austin Rhodes
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Austin Rhodes 07/26/10 - 08:38 am
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This gentleman is a

This gentleman is a HERO...plain and simple! Bless him and many thanks!

disssman
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disssman 07/26/10 - 08:53 am
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Humble. He sure hasn't been

Humble. He sure hasn't been very kind to the soldiers in Afghanistan this month. I mean if he is all powerful and makes everything happen in our lives everyday, why did he not protect our troops?

disssman
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disssman 07/26/10 - 08:58 am
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Now back to the issue at

Now back to the issue at hand. The Sailor should be awarded a heros medal by the city. Not many people want to approach a burning car. I hope the driver learned a lesson about her condition. The only thing that stopped this from being a report of death, is a seat belt.

corgimom
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corgimom 07/26/10 - 09:41 am
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I hope that Mr. Jernigan

I hope that Mr. Jernigan receives a Navy commendation. He deserves it.

Great job, Mr. Jernigan!

vickidu52
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vickidu52 07/26/10 - 09:51 am
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A wonderful role model! Good

A wonderful role model! Good to see a wonderful positive story. Mr. Jernigan, you are a HERO!

chascush
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chascush 07/26/10 - 10:43 am
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A true Hero! A good example

A true Hero! A good example of our men in the armed forces.

JayJay
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JayJay 07/26/10 - 11:03 am
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harrisjr-You are so right!

harrisjr-You are so right! Glad these bystanders had it in their hearts to help a stranger rather.

WiseOldMan
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WiseOldMan 07/26/10 - 11:05 am
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...so glad that everyone is

...so glad that everyone is OK.

mary dits
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mary dits 07/26/10 - 11:22 am
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wowzers!

wowzers!

ripjones
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ripjones 07/26/10 - 12:07 pm
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I agree with corgimom -- the

I agree with corgimom -- the Navy should recognize this man. You are a hero, and you are the Good Samaritan. And thank you for your service.

willie7
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willie7 07/26/10 - 12:21 pm
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God will bless you for your
Unpublished

God will bless you for your heroic efforts in saving the lady's life. Wish you much success with your studies at Paine College.

Brad Owens
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Brad Owens 07/26/10 - 12:55 pm
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Good job Sailor! I hope his

Good job Sailor! I hope his unit awards him for this. In the Army we have the Soldiers Medal for non-military related heroism like this. I am sure the Navy has the same thing. I hope his Commander takes action.

OORAHH!!

Brad

stephykins
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stephykins 07/26/10 - 01:07 pm
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I'm SO glad the paper posted

I'm SO glad the paper posted an article about this. I was one of the EMS crew members that took Ms. Chad to the ER & was amazed to see there are still good people in this world. So many times people look the other way instead of stopping to help. Way to go Mr. Jernigan! :)

happychimer
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happychimer 07/26/10 - 01:47 pm
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Iry Jernigan Jr. is a brave

Iry Jernigan Jr. is a brave man and a hero.

sassygirl8
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sassygirl8 07/26/10 - 07:07 pm
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What a great job this man did

What a great job this man did for that woman. You don't find people like that everyday. Kudos to you. You are a very great man. God bless you

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