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Two Clemson students given awards after saving fellow student in car accident

Toby Corriston
Joseph Pope (left) and Charles Segars (right) helped save the life of a fellow Clemson student after she was involved in a serious car accident in September.

Two Clemson students were awarded the Life-Saving Award from the city of Clemson Police Department at a Clemson City Council meeting on Monday for pulling two people from a car wreck.

Charles Segars, a junior forest resource management major, and Joseph Pope, a junior mechanical engineering major, were heading home from a friend’s house at around 1 a.m. on Sept. 2, Clemson Police Department chief Jorge Campos explained at the city council meeting. At this point, Segars and Pope noticed a single-vehicle accident near the three-way stop at the corner of Cherry Road and Old Stone Church Road.

Pope knocked on the car’s window and saw the driver inside amidst smoke and airbags, but the driver was unable to open the door from the inside.

Pope then retrieved a hammer from Segars’ truck to break the window in. He reached his hand inside the window, cutting himself on the glass, and unlocked the door from the inside.

Pope and Segar then pulled the driver out of his seat and into the flatbed of Segars’ truck. According to Pope, he ran back and “saw through the smoke that there was a girl, and she was unconscious over the console,” he told The Tiger.

Despite the flames coming out of the passenger side, Segars and Charles broke out the window, unlocked the door and pulled Sofia Vega, a sophomore biochemistry major, out of the car.

The city police and EMTs then arrived at the scene and took over.

Vega had been riding home from a party on the early morning of Sept. 2, she told The Tiger. Vega also told The Tiger that the driver was drunk, sped through the stop sign and hit the bank on the side of Cherry Road.

The car’s passenger side took the brunt of the hit, causing Vega to break her leg, ankle, shoulder and spine, she told the Tiger. The seat belt also split her colon in half.

Vega was medically dead on the scene and had to be resuscitated, she told The Tiger. After resuscitating Vega, the EMTs stabilized her into critical condition and called a helicopter to take her to Greenville Memorial Hospital.

“It was a traumatic experience,” Vega said. “And it makes me happy that people will hear about it because I don’t want anyone to go through what I went through. To remember not to get in the car.”

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Kat Pugh
Kat Pugh, Asst. News Editor
Toby Corriston, Asst. Photo Editor
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