Burlington Co. mom drives into Delaware River with 3 children

Click play to watch the report from Action News' Nora Muchanic
April 17, 2014 4:45:13 PM PDT
A court hearing was postponed Thursday for the woman accused of driving her minivan into the Delaware River with her three teenage children inside.

However, today Action News spoke with the man who jumped into the river and helped save that family's lives.

Darnell Taylor tells us, "I'm no hero. I'm just a regular guy from Florence. Anybody would have done the same thing."

Taylor is receiving thanks and congratulations after his dramatic rescue Tuesday night of 49-year-old Joann Smith and her children. Authorities say Smith drove her minivan off a boat ramp and into the Delaware River with 14 and 15-year-old boys and a 13-year-old daughter inside the vehicle.

"I told her to jump, she jumped, swim her to shore and went back to get her mother and brothers," Taylor said.

Laura Taylor, Darnell's wife, says, "They didn't say anything. They were just in shock and they were very cold. I mean, they were soaking wet."

Smith's family says she has struggled with mental health issues and is fine when medicated.

Her neighbor, Howard Tucker, tells Action News, "Oh yeah, real good mom. Yeah, yep. I have no complaints about her. I mean, she never did nothing wrong that I know of."

Right before driving into the river Smith and her children stopped first at Debbie's Snack Shop located nearby.

Debbie Partyka says, "Just something was a little off, but maybe she's having a bad day. People have that. I never expected anything like this."

Smith is now facing attempted murder charges and is undergoing a mental health evaluation.

Mary Sobon of Florence says, "They were lucky the kids broke the window and they were able to get out and it was great that Darnell was able to help."

The Burlington County Prosecutor's Office says it may reevaluate the charges against Joann Smith depending on the report from mental health evaluators.


Load Comments