News 12 First at Five / Thursday, Oct. 6, 2011
SALLEY, S.C. -- "I arrived first on the scene, and I recognized my daughter's car," said Public Safety Chief J.D. Bledsoe.
And at that moment, he wasn't just the chief, he was a father.
Now the community he protects is wrapping its arms around his family after a crash that took his little girl.
Lisa Bledsoe was heading home from work Wednesday night on Festival Trail road when she hit a tree.
The 20-year-old mother died just minutes away from her house and her little boy.
On Thursday, the area still smelled like smoke -- a reminder that the accident is fresh and so is the hurt.
A daughter and a friend to many in Salley, Lisa has left a piece of her behind in the form of her 4-month-old son.
"Oh man that was her heart, I can't tell you how much she loved that child because, you know I know how much I loved her, but this child was something special to her," he said.
And this baby is special to him, too.
"I just know Lisa would want us to carry on and be strong for her," he said.
After Lisa crashed, her car caught fire and firefighters worked to put it out for hours as her father looked on.
"I am not really worried, I miss my daughter, but I know that this not her," he said.
He said she died on impact after she lost control of the car, flipped and hit a tree.
"We have talked with the State Highway Patrol; speed was not a factor in, she was wearing her seat belt, she was religious about that," he said.
One thing this religious family is taking comfort in is a Bible.
"This Bible does not smell like smoke, it has not been burned, and this was the bible that was in her car at the time of accident," he showed News 12.
And he says he feels so blessed for his supportive community.
"The town of Salley has come out and supported me as their police chief, and my church family has supported us and they have supported Lisa tremendously," he said.
Lisa was a young mother who touched so many.
"Always bubbly and cheerful, she just loved life," he said.
The family says Lisa would have wanted donations to the Faith Rider Fellowship Fund. There will be a visitation for Lisa on Sunday from 2 to 3:30 p.m. at Wagner-Salley High School where she graduated from.
Autopsy results aren't back, but they believe she died from head trauma.