Woman Who Stopped to Help at Crash Site Falls to Death Off S.C. Bridge

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By Alex Johnson

Relatives said Sunday they were "heartbroken and empty" after a South Carolina woman who stopped to help at a crash scene fell off a bridge to her death.

Jessica Nicole Smith, 29, stopped at the scene of a truck crash shortly after midnight Saturday on Interstate 385 in Greenville County to look for victims, the county coroner said Sunday.

Jessica Nicole Smith in an undated photo.WYFF-TV

After finding no one in the cab of the truck, Smith — a certified nursing assistant — then leaned out over the bridge to call out for victims, 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."

A man in the truck also fell over the bridge but survived, the coroner's office said. No further information about him was released.

Smith's sister, Hope Smith, described the family Sunday as "heartbroken and empty."

"If anybody ever needed help, Jessica was always there," Hope Smith told NBC station WYFF of Greenville. "She'd go out of her way to help complete strangers, people she didn't know, and that's exactly what she was doing."

Hope Smith said she and her husband planned to take in Jessica Smith's nine-year-old son, Isaiah, and raise him 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 Smith said. "I couldn't imagine that."

Jessica Nicole Smith and her son, Isaiah, 9, in an undated photo.WYFF-TV