Deputies investigate death of woman found in road in Sylva

Jess Harvey Cagle, 46, was arrested and charged with DWI. (Photo credit: Vinelink)

Deputies are investigating the death of a woman in Sylva over the weekend.

An autopsy was scheduled Wednesday for Brianne Abbitt, who was found unresponsive lying on a rural road Saturday.

Jackson County deputies say officers responded to a call just before 9 a.m. Saturday, June 16, along Winesap Drive, where they found Abbitt, 39.

Officers say CPR was performed on Abbitt, but efforts were unsuccessful.

Deputies say Jess Harvey Cagle, 46, was driving a vehicle while impaired just before the call for help. Officers also say Cagle and Abbitt were in a relationship and together in the vehicle just before the call.

Cagle was arrested and charged with DWI. According to search warrants, Cagle told detectives that they had used methamphetamine and marijuana.

In the court documents he also says Abbitt had jumped or fallen from the vehicle while it was moving.

The tragedy took neighbors by surprise.

“We're all shocked by it, but we try to keep him in our prayers and take it day by day, just kind of be there for him because I know it's a tough time for him, as well,” says Chelsea Potts.

In the search warrants, Cagle told investigators that he and Abbitt had gotten into a physical altercation earlier, resulting in Abbitt going to the emergency room.

Cagle is now charged with DWI. Any further charges are pending the outcome of more investigation by the sheriff's office, the N.C. Highway Patrol and the SBI.

Cagle is out on bond and scheduled for court Aug. 6.

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