A 29-year-old single mother has died after falling from a bridge as she tried to help a crash victim in South Carolina. Jessica Nicole Smith, who had a nine-year-old son, fell 7 metres to her death from a motorway bridge at the scene of a crash at around 1.30am local time last Saturday 26 September.
Jessica had asked her cousin to pull over on Interstate I-385 when they saw a truck had crashed on a bridge. There were a few other people at the scene but no emergency services had yet arrived. The smashed truck was empty so Jessica stood on the bridge and called down. When she heard cries for help from the road below she tried to get down.
It is thought Jessica misjudged the drop in the road in the darkness, falling to her death. An autopsy ruled she died of severe head trauma. The man who had been thrown from his truck and over the bridge to the road below miraculously survived.
Relatives believe Smith, a trained nursing assistant, would have been acting on her instinct to help. Her grandmother Betty Smith told local news channel WSPA-TV: "She had a heart of gold. She would do anything for you. She would try to help anybody that needed help. What she was doing wasn't stupid or careless. She was trying to help somebody else, to maybe save another life and ended up losing her own."
Now Smith's sister Hope has vowed to bring up Jessica's nine-year-old son as her own. "He's going to be OK because I'm going to make sure of that," said Hope, "but it's going to be tough growing up from the age of 9 without your mom. I couldn't imagine that."