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December 16, 2010
Right place, right time
Washaun Ealey and Mike Gilliard said they were just happy they could be in the right place at the right time.
Ealey was behind the wheel when a campus bus they were following slid off the road during icy conditions at 10 p.m. on Wednesday night, slamming into a tree near the intersection of Cedar Street and Sanford Drive.
But that's when the two Bulldogs sprang into action, helping the injured driver who was briefly trapped in her seat, until police and paramedics arrived.
The driver was the only person on the bus at the time of the crash.
"We had just eaten at the Oglethorpe House and were driving behind the bus," Ealey said. "When it turned, I saw it start to skid and didn't think much of it, but it went off the road and went head-on into a tree. We got down there as quick as we could and helped the driver get out. She was pretty shaken up and there was a lot of broken glass. We just helped her get out and made sure she was OK."
After getting a bystander to call 911, the two players stayed with the young woman until help arrived.
"I've seen cars skid there other times so it really didn't surprise me at first," Gilliard said. "When I saw it skid off the road, it startled me and I thought 'Oh man. We better get over there and see if everyone is OK,'" Gilliard said. "We didn't know how many people were on the bus. We didn't know it was just the driver until we got there."
According to Ealey, the bus crashed head-on into a tree, resulting in a large limb breaking through the windshield, barely missing the driver.
The players forced their way through the bus doors to get to the woman inside.
"She was panicking, crying, things like that; we just had to get to her," said Ealey. "It was hard (opening the door) at first, but then the adrenalin started rushing and it was kind of easy."
Neither player said they got the woman's name and left once paramedics arrived.
"Those two guys did a very good deed," Richt said in a statement. "They stopped and helped out and I'm proud of them. The assisted someone who was in distress, which is a good thing."
Ealey and Gilliard were headed home with the accident occurred.
"It really wasn't a big deal," Gilliard said. "We just wanted to help out, that's all. I'm just glad we were able to give a hand."