Versailles man tries to savve woman's life

Wanda English Burnett

Versailles resident and business owner, Rick Pollard, did everything in his power to help a woman involved in a jet ski accident Monday evening on the Ohio River to no avail.
“I wish things had turned out differently,” Pollard told The Versailles Republican.

“We had cleaned up dad’s boat and decided to head up the river to eat,” Pollard said. He continued, “We had just finished having dinner at Hooter’s when everything changed.”

Pollard, his wife, Vicki, daughter Erica and a friend, Janie Werner, were on a boating excursion on the Ohio River when they heard the screams. “I saw two jet skis with nobody on them,” Pollard said.

He immediately went to see what he could do. “I grabbed her (the victim’s) arm and pulled her on board,” he noted.

Later Pollard would find out the woman he
was desperately trying to save was Laura Russell, 29, of Fairfield, Ohio.

“I started doing CPR and then Erica took over,” he noted.

He would later realize that the woman’s injuries were too extensive for simple CPR. Pollard said paramedics arrived on the scene, but it was too late.

“They were just having fun that turned into tragedy,” Pollard said of Russell and a friend, who was on a separate water craft and not injured.

Police say Russell made an abrupt turn in the jet ski she was operating. Her friend tried to slow down, but the forward momentum thrust the jet ski into Russell.

Both operators were wearing life jackets and alcohol was not a factor in the crash.

Pollard said it was a tragic accident and felt bad that the outcome couldn’t be different.

He has had calls since he first appeared on Cincinnati television stations where it showed his pontoon boat near the site on the river. One was from South Ripley Principal and friend of Pollard’s, Bob Meyer. “I appreciated him calling,” Pollard concluded.