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Hometown heroes
Area students rescue friends from submerged car

By Holly Hollman
DAILY Staff Writer

hhollman@decaturdaily.com 340-2445

CAPSHAW — A 16-year-old East Limestone High School student said he was determined to rescue his friends from a submerged car, even after he panicked when the car doors wouldn't open.

Jonathan Pinque said he was hanging out with his friends at his Sagewood Circle home Sunday night when five friends decided to drive around. Jonathan's home is about three miles west of East Limestone High School.

Jonathan and his friend Mitch Lamb, also an East Limestone student, stayed at the house.

"A while later, I saw the black car they were in coming fast around the curve," Jonathan said. "It went off the road and went into the water in my neighbor's pond."

That was around 8:30. Jonathan and Mitch rushed to the pond.

"There were three girls, and they were trying to crawl out," Jonathan said.

"The guys were letting the girls get out first. They crawled out of a window from the back seat."

The three girls were Amanda Basher, 16, and Katie Vandersarl, 15, both of Athens, and Brittney Harris, 14, of Madison.

Jonathan and Mitch helped the girls out of the water.

East Limestone volunteer firefighter Tony Kirk, who is a lieutenant in the Athens Fire Department, said a brother and sister, Lindsay and Jason Byrd, were visiting their grandmother on Sagewood Circle and helped the victims until emergency officials arrived.

After the girls got out safely, the car continued to sink, Jonathan said.

The water was above his head, he said.

Jacob B. Green, 15, of Athens, the driver, and Jaramiall "Ricky" Ricardo, 15, of Athens, still were in the front seats.

"I began to panic because I couldn't get the doors open," Jonathan said. "I composed myself. I thought I could break a front window. I went to my garage and found a metal bar."

As he ran back to the pond, Jonathan realized his soaked pants might hinder his swimming.

"My pants were so heavy, so I took them off and went back into the water," he said.

Sunroof

Jonathan busted the sunroof with the metal bar.

"I started feeling around and finally felt Ricky and Jacob," he said. "I got Ricky through the sunroof and handed him to Jason Byrd. Then I pulled Jacob out."

Jonathan had several cuts that required stitches.

"I didn't even think about what I was doing," he said. "I just didn't want my friends to drown, and I was going to do all that I could to get them out."

Lindsay Byrd performed cardiopulmonary resuscitation on one of the boys, who was coughing up water.

Athens-Limestone Hospital released Amanda, Katie, Brittney and Jacob. Jonathan said Ricky had fluid in his lungs but that he heard Ricky will be fine.

Athens-Limestone transferred Ricky, a spokeswoman said, but records did not indicate to which hospital. Kirk said Ricky went to Huntsville.

Huntsville Hospital did not have a Ricardo listed as a patient, a hospital spokeswoman said Monday.

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