Savannah River Rescue Is Officer's Second - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

11/30/04

Savannah River Rescue Is Officer's Second

Cpl. Ashley Brown Cpl. Ashley Brown

When two Coast Guard officers went into the Savannah River Saturday morning, Chatham police corporal Ashley Brown was among the first on the scene. He jumped in the river and pulled Traci Miller to safety.

"Once I dove in, swam a few strokes, I was able to grab hold of her," said Brown. He rescued Miller against her will. "She's struggling to get away from me, actually got away. I had to grab her again, pull her back to the bank. She didn't want our help, but she got it."

If Brown had hesitated, he might have been too late. "If I had taken 15 seconds to take off the gun belt or take off the boots, she'd been probably in the channel by then," he said. "I didn't want to wait that long. As soon as I jumped in with the vest and boots on, I went straight to the bottom."

The rescue in the Savannah River Saturday night isn't the first for Cpl. Brown. About a year and a half ago, he rescued a man on South Carolina's Back River Bridge. Early in the morning on July 5, 2003, a car slammed into the guardrail. The impact threw one passenger out of the car and into the water. Cpl. Brown was one of the first on the scene.

"A civilian ran down, I ran down, we were able to get to him," he said. "When we got to him he was not breathing, he didn't have a pulse." 

With the man still in the water, Brown started CPR. "Thought he was gone. As we we're discussing it, 'Do we need to continue?,' he gasps, he takes a breath."

Brown's superiors say his actions in both cases went above and beyond the call of duty. But Cpl. Brown says he didn't even think twice. "My legs made the decision. The rest of me just went along for the ride. It's just something you do. I didn't decide to do it either time, I just did it."

Cpl. Brown is up for many awards for his actions Saturday night, including the Medal of Valor.

Reported by: Melanie Ruberti, mruberti@wtoc.com

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