Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney was speaking to his team as the Tigers were finishing practice on Tuesday evening at around 6:20 p.m., when they heard a collision that took place on Perimeter Road about the east end of the practice facility.
The team just so happened to be gathered about 300 yards from the scene of a car accident, which was not visible due to trees and other growth on the side of the hill. Seconds after the collision, it was apparent that a car was sliding down the side of the steep embankment.
“It was crazy,” Swinney said after Wednesday’s practice. “It was just like something out of a movie. You never even think of something like that.”
The car and passenger, Clary Miles — a freshman at Clemson who is a student worker in the school’s football office — fell approximately 100 feet down the hill, coming to a stop about 20 feet from the Seneca River that surrounds the Clemson football practice fields.
“It was a miracle because it just keeps coming and it was all the way to the moat. It was a miracle it did not go in the moat,” Swinney said. “It was just kind of natural. I mean the whole team took off running. You did not know if the car would catch on fire, you had no idea. It was just kind of instincts.”
Clemson student athletic trainers, managers and staff then rushed to provide aid to Miles. Upon hearing the car sliding down the hill, all Clemson players, coaches, and personnel rushed to the edge of the river. Sports Medicine Assistant Scott Crowthers, student athletic trainer Bailey Black, student managers Jack Wardlaw and Jack Sari, student coach Daniel Boyd and student videographer Eric Suttles all swam across the river to reach Miles.
“They actually swam across the moat. It was like quicksand over there,” Swinney said. “They tried to assess the situation until the paramedics got there… We huddled up and we said a prayer for the situation and for whoever the person was.”
Boyd and Suttles are military veterans. Graduate assistant athletic trainer Rachel Alterio and student athletic trainer Ana Wright also went to the scene to provide help in removing Miles from the car and onto land. The students stayed with Miles until EMS personnel arrived.
Swinney gathered his team in prayer while the students removed Miles from the car and the team remained at the scene until an ambulance took him to the hospital.
Miles, a Daniel High School graduate and classmate of Clemson receiver Will Swinney, is recovering from injuries in a hospital. Swinney said Miles has some broken bones in his hip and pelvis area. He also suffered some internal injuries as well.
“Will came over to me and said, and he had tears in his eyes, ‘Dad, I think that is Clary.’ It took my breath away,” Swinney said. “Clary Miles is a kid I have known his whole life and he has been on my team, ya’ll know I coach baseball, and I have coached him since he was eight years old. He was my center fielder. He is an unbelievable young man. He works for us here.”
Swinney met with the media following Clemson’s practice on Wednesday evening. Watch Swinney talk about what happened and his team coming to the aid of Miles after the accident: