A South Carolina woman died after falling 23 feet from a bridge while trying to rescue a vehicle crash victim.
Jessica Nicole Smith, 29, was driving along Interstate 385 on Sept. 26 shortly after midnight when she saw a vehicle collision, Fox Carolina reported. She then stopped her vehicle and got out to look for victims.
When Smith found no one in the cab of the truck that had crashed, she leaned out over the side of the bridge to see if anyone was there, county Coroner Parks Evans said in a statement.
“It is believed she heard a voice, placed one leg over the bridge, and then another, thinking the ground was close,” Evans said. "However, she fell 23 feet to the base of the bridge and died."
According to the coroner’s office, a man who was in the truck had also fallen over the bridge but survived, NBC News reported. No further information on the man was released.
Smith’s family spoke out about the incident on Sept. 27. Jessica’s sister, Hope Smith, said the family was left “heartbroken and empty.”
“If anybody ever needed help, Jessica was always there,” Hope told NBC News. “She'd go out of her way to help complete strangers, people she didn't know, and that's exactly what she was doing.”
Smith, who was a certified nursing assistant, had recently posted a status on Facebook worrying she would not be around for her 9-year-old son, Isaiah. Hope said she and her husband will now be raising the boy as their own.
“He's going to be OK, because I'm going to make sure of that, but it's going to be tough growing up from the age of nine without your mom,” Hope said. “I couldn't imagine that.”