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Man rescues a motorist in distress

Highway hero

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POSTED: November 3, 2010 2:47 p.m.
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Clements positioned his Ford F-350 in front of the runaway Cadillac sedan and braked until both cars came to a stop.

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Kelley Clements of Richmond Hill is truly a hero.

On October 11, while traveling southbound on I-95 near Brunswick, the father of two and owner of Southern Alarm, Inc., made a daring maneuver to save a stranger’s life.

Somewhere between exits 36A and 36B, Clements noticed that a nearby car had suddenly gone dangerously out of control.

“The car in front of me swerved erratically to the left and hit the guard rail. The hubcaps came flying off and I thought ‘wow, I guess somebody fell asleep.’”

But the driver didn’t seem to wake up from the first collision. The car continued careening down the breakdown lane at 70 mph, hitting the concrete barrier again.

“When she slammed into the rail a second time, I thought ‘she’s not asleep,’” Clements explained. “So I sped up, came up alongside and l looked: her head was back and her arm was out and she was seizing.”

Clements also noticed that the car was headed straight for a large roadway construction barrier and sign.

At that point, he sprang into action.

“I just instantly knew that I couldn’t let her hit that barricade,” he said. “So I just jumped in front of her, lined her up in my rearview mirror and tapped the brake. When she made contact I just slammed on the brakes and slid right up to the sign.”

Clements’ Ford F-350 came to a halt less than 10 yards from the sign.

Monica Thweatt, 46, a dental assistant from Plantation, Fla., was still convulsing when local authorities arrived. EMS personnel brought her to the nearest hospital for medical attention.

Clements suffered no personal injury. Damage to his car was minimal– his rear bumper was turned under.

“It was a split-second decision and … it was well worth it. I don’t have to wonder if I could’ve stopped it,” said Clements.

Cliff Thweatt, Monica’s husband, contacted Clements the next day to thank him.

“When I actually found out what he did, and the details of it, I was just amazed,” said Thweatt. “We want to express our gratitude. What he did was nothing short of heroic.”

The seizure was Monica’s first. Several days into testing at the hospital, doctors found that it had been the result of an infection on the frontal lobe of her brain. She has since had surgery to remove it and is slowly recovering.

“I just did what I would hope anybody else would do for a member of my family. I think it was all about being in the right place at the right time,” said Clements.
 

 

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