Local News

Woman who escaped fiery SUV found dead

Posted October 13, 2010 4:17 p.m. EDT

— A month after a North Carolina State Highway Patrol trooper rescued a Georgia woman and her four young children from their burning minivan, the woman was found dead in her home, police said.

Jessica White DePriest, 24, was found dead by a relative who visited the family Wednesday morning, said Detective Kyle Lairamore of the Hinesville Police Department.

Investigators don't suspect foul play, but they are awaiting the results of an autopsy to determine the cause of DePriest's death, Lairamore said.

On Sept. 9, DePriest and her children were headed to Hinesville from her parents' home in Dunn when engine trouble forced her to the shoulder of Interstate 95 near Lumberton.

Trooper Alan Humphrey stopped to help, and he discovered the minivan's engine was on fire. As the flames quickly spread, Humphrey pulled 18-month-old triplets Raychel, Rebekah and Kalob and 2½-year-old Jakob from the vehicle.

A passing driver used a fire extinguisher to slow the flames enough for Humphrey to get the family to safety before the minivan's gas tank exploded.