FAYETTEVILLE (AP) — A woman who died after hitting the police cars of two Cumberland County deputies appeared to be trying to kill herself, authorities said.
Rebecca Holmes, 42, died Monday night when her 2013 Toyota RAV4 crossed the center line and smashed head-on into a vehicle being driven by a deputy responding to a call that Holmes had slashed her wrists, sheriff’s office spokeswoman Debbie Tanna said.
The deputy, Lt. Shawna Leake, suffered a broken ankle and a severe cut to her hand, Tanna said.
Holmes also hit a cruiser that had just arrived at her home as she backed out of her driveway. That officer, Deputy Jonathan Perkins, was not injured, investigators said.
The deputies were responding to a 911 call from a friend of Holmes, Lewis Dove, who said Holmes has just cut her wrists twice and he was afraid she might be violent toward others. Dove said Holmes was armed with a knife.
“She won’t let me help her. Please, Rebecca,” Dove told the 911 operator in the call obtained by The Fayetteville Observer.
Holmes can be heard saying something in the background, but her words weren’t clear. The man tells her “you’re not going anywhere” and moment later tells the dispatcher that Holmes left in her SUV.
A second friend, Michelle Fontaine, told the newspaper that Holmes struggled with setbacks, but was always ready to help others. She and Holmes were both seeking a master’s degree in Business Administration with a focus on health.
“She had some tough times. It was one struggle after the other for her. She would take steps forward and then get hit again,” Fontaine said.
Fontaine was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2011 while at Methodist, but Holmes and other friends rallied around her to encourage her not to quit school.
Fontaine said Holmes struggled to find a job after graduating with her master’s degree and also had health problems, including a knee replacement. She said Holmes did not want to move to find a job because her son lived in Cumberland County.
“She was trying so hard to get her life back together, to get a job, to get a decent place for her son,” Fontaine said. “I saw hope, I saw promise that she was going to be able to do that.”
Before enrolling at Methodist, Holmes had worked as a nurse at Cape Fear Valley Medical Center.
“She was a sweetheart,” Warren McDonald, chairman of the Department of Health Administration at Methodist, told the Fayetteville paper. “We all loved her here at Methodist. We were shocked.”