Stark student saves woman from icy pond

Mary Jo Spletzer

Woman treated for mild hypothermia

A Kent State Stark student rescued a Stark County resident and her two dogs when they fell into a pond on campus Tuesday.

Jim Starr, a pre-finance major, didn’t think twice when he climbed onto the ice to save the woman.

“I just couldn’t imagine this lady dying with me standing there, and I just had to help her,” Starr said. “I believe in karma, and if I was in her situation, I like to believe someone would have helped me out.”

Jessica Andrews, a worker at the Emporium at Kent State Stark, was on her lunch break and was sitting with Starr when she first noticed the woman and her two dogs.

“The dogs were playing in the grass behind the library, and I watched them until they ran over the hill,” Andrews said. “A few minutes later, the dogs came running back over the hill and I saw them go out onto the ice.”

Andrews said the woman walked out onto the pond and appeared to be testing the ice with her foot. Then she wasn’t visible because there were trees in the way.

“I waited a minute or two and when I didn’t see her or the dogs reappear, I went and called security,” Andrews said. “By the time I came back, Jim was already gone.”

Emporium manager Amy Saviers and Starr ran down to the pond to help the woman.

Starr said the woman was being pushed under the ice by her dogs as they tried to use her as support to climb out of the water. Starr and Saviers tried to reach the woman with a 12-foot branch. When Starr realized the branch wasn’t long enough, he laid down on his stomach on the ice and started making his way toward the woman.

Starr was able to have the woman grab hold of the branch, and when security arrived, they made a chain of people and were finally able to pull the woman and one of her dogs out of the water. The other dog made it out on its own.

“I was getting wet and the water was cold on my hands, but I didn’t realize it at the time,” Starr said. “When they finally pulled us out, I looked down at my hands and they were purple.”

Starr and the woman were both taken to the hospital.

“My pulse was really low and I had gone into shock,” Starr said. “They also wanted to check my hands for frostbite damage.”

Starr was able to return to campus yesterday. He said his hands are sore and he is still shaken up, but otherwise he is doing all right. The woman was treated for mild hypothermia. Both of the dogs were wet and cold but suffered no injuries.

Cynthia Williams, public relations coordinator at Kent State Stark, said the Stark community is proud of Starr, Saviers and the security department on campus for helping the woman in need.

Tina Pyle, junior criminal justice major, said Starr needs to be applauded for his actions.

“He didn’t have to go in after her,” she said. “He didn’t have to do anything, but he did.”

Contact regional campuses reporter Mary Jo Spletzer at [email protected].