BONUS: Account of man’s bridge-jumping death

Posted at 6:34 PM, May 03, 2012
and last updated 2012-05-03 19:02:28-04

The following is an unedited account from Louisa Detective Mark Stanton in the hopes that it would show the potential dangers of bridge jumping.

“A tragic event occurred yesterday in Louisa County. A 55 y/o male and a 28 y/o male, both from Spotsylvania County were driving around while drinking alcoholic beverages. The two had been best-of-friends for as long as the younger male could remember. The two traveled the roads of Spotsylvania and Louisa counties for four hours, astonishingly injuring no one while operating their motor vehicle. The weather yesterday was balmy, and beautiful. The driver of the vehicle, the 55 y/o male, decided at around 5:00 pm to stop on the bridge over the canal on Moody Town Road. The two got out of their parked vehicle and walked west of its location approximately 430 feet to the center of the bridge, right past two signs that clearly state “No Jumping or Fishing From Bridge”.

The older male climbed up on the guardrail and challenged the younger male to “come on – let’s jump – on the count of three”. He counted to three the first time and neither jumped. The second time he counted to three, the older male jumped and the younger one stayed on the bridge. As the younger male waited for his friend to come up to the surface, time continued to pass. Finally he spotted his friend surface on the other side of the bridge…but he was motionless. He went back to the eastern side of the bridge and climbed down the embankment. He waded out into the water waist-deep and pulled his friend to shore. He saw that his friend wasn’t breathing, and tried doing CPR on him. After seeing water coming out of his mouth as he was doing chest compressions, he immediately called 911. Rescue personnel were on-scene in 7 minutes. CPR attempts were continued, and a passer-by in a boat assisted with moving him to more sturdy ground. Medic’s attempted their resuscitative efforts for another 20 minutes to no avail. The older male was pronounced deceased at 5:27 pm.

The older male was reported by his friends to be a “good swimmer”. He had no known medical problems, One has to ask, “how did this happen?” No one knows for sure at this point. But these are some of the things that are known:

1. Alcohol had been consumed
2. The bridge is posted for “No Jumping”

Imaging the grief that the surviving male will carry with him from this point forward. Imagine the grief of the victim’s family. Imagine the grief of the friends he has left behind. All of this…due to his desire to break a rule here and there. He paid for it with his life. This person “thought” that he would get away with it, but sadly did not…it was only his decision.

This is a true story, based wholly on facts and evidence collected at the scene. It is not meant to be disrespectful to his memory, his family or his friends. It is intended to present an incident that came about, wrought with poor decisions and an ultimately irreversible outcome. It is offered up in hopes that it will deter other from attempting the same thing, and resulting in the same outcome.

I am Detective Mark A. Stanton….and I investigated this case. “