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Woman who stole 2 cars, jumped on semi before death reported missing in GA just hours earlier

Maliyah Smith was 19 when she died. (Source: East Point Police Department)
Maliyah Smith was 19 when she died. (Source: East Point Police Department)
Updated: Aug. 23, 2019 at 7:13 PM EDT
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LEXINGTON COUNTY, S.C. (WIS) - The woman hit and killed by a semi-truck on I-20 on Tuesday following a major crash has been identified as a teen missing from Georgia. Her family in Georgia told police she had moved there just days before her death.

Maliyah Smith, 19, of East Point, Georgia, was pronounced dead at a Lexington-area hospital due to injuries she suffered from being hit by that truck, Lexington County Coroner Margaret Fisher confirmed.

It all unfolded Tuesday on I-20 East in Lexington.

The moments leading up to that crash were intense, and to add to that, WIS uncovered a missing person report filed for Smith just hours before her death.

Smith was staying with a family member who woke up and couldn’t find her, according to that report, which was filed with the East Point Police Department in Georgia on Tuesday around 7:30 a.m.

The family member told police she had seen Smith around 4 a.m. that morning, but couldn’t find her at 7 a.m.

The report said Smith had recently moved to Georgia from Nebraska -- just three days before her death. It said she was not diagnosed with a mental illness but was “acting strange (sic)" since she arrived in Georgia.

Another report filed with East Point police around the same time as the missing person report suggested Smith stole a truck from a man about one mile from her house around 7:30 a.m.

The man told police he was out of his truck reading a meter when he noticed a teenage girl matching Smith’s description walking nearby. Thinking nothing of it, he went back to reading the meter until he noticed her approach the driver’s side of the truck, the report said.

When the man asked the teen what she was doing, he told police she got in the truck and took off.

Police confirmed Smith was driving a stolen vehicle before her death.

While on I-20 in South Carolina, police said the truck Smith reportedly stole in Georgia ran out of gas. When someone stopped to help her, she stole that person’s car, officers said.

Further down the road, in Lexington, police said Smith crashed into several other vehicles on the interstate. The wreck damaged the car to the extent it could no longer be driven, and was so intense I-20 East was shut down.

Witnesses said Smith tried to steal another car after the crash, but couldn’t drive it because it had a manual transmission.

At that point, witnesses told police Smith ran out onto the interstate where she attempted to jump onto a moving semi. She was struck when she fell under the trailer.

The coroner said Smith died from the injuries she suffered from being hit by the truck.

No other injuries were reported in the commotion.

The South Carolina Highway Patrol is investigating.

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