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2008 jump eventsupdated: 11.17.14
if you have any factual news, updates, or additions,
please bring it to our attention.
(our comments follow)
|12.30.08: save, male|
thank you, jumpnewsreporters:
12.30.08, zolter, Largo, 12.30.08, 1:00pm, male), Male sitting on wall with one leg over. After 20 min, removed and detained
12.30.08, Roger W., (12.30.08, 1:00pm), While driving southbound around 1:00 - 1:00PM saw a white pickup with the door open and a state highway patrol car with the trooper and one male looking over the bridge.
01.03.09, Yokel, SE Minnesota, (12.30.08, 1:00pm, male), I like to visit bridges (weird hobby, I know), so I was excited to go across the Skyway when I was in Tampa for a family event this past week. My family was nice enough to humor me by driving me over the bridge for no particular reason.
So, as we're going over on Tuesday suddenly traffic in front of us starts coming to an abrupt halt...luckily there were no rear end collisions. I was well aware of the suicide history, so thought it was going to be a jumper. Sure enough, a few feet up there was a state trooper and a young guy straddling the rail with one foot over the edge. Nice, late model truck with a Tampa Bay Bucs sticker on the back. By the time we got back over the bridge, traffic was shut down and there were several cops holding the guy down.
The three kids in our car had just been treated to the sight of a body lying on the Frankland bridge from a motorcycle wreck the day before...we didn't have good luck with bridges on this trip.
Seriously though, I've got to say that a suicide barrier would do a lot to protect the safety of motorists as well as potential jumpers. One of these days there's going to be one hell of a wreck after some rubbernecker slams on his brakes to get a good look at some despondent soul taking a header into Tampa Bay.
any more info is welcome.
suicide closes Skyway for nearly an hour
The Sunshine Skyway has reopened after south bound lanes shut down for nearly an hour today as a man threatened to jump from the bridge.
St. Petersburg Fire Rescue Lt. Joel Granata said the agency received multiple calls reporting a man with one leg over the guardrail. A Florida Highway Patrol trooper talked the man out of jumping.
Granata said the first call came in about 1 p.m. and the bridge reopened at 1:46 p.m.
The man was taken into custody under the Baker Act and transported to a medical facility for evaluation.
Austin Bogues, Times staff writer
|12.27.08: possible jumper, 11:30am, female|
12.27.08, Alex R., Bradenton, FL., (12.27.08, 11:30am, female, used phones: no), I saw a female stopped southbound at the top of the bridge @ 11:30 this morning as I was traveling northbound. She was looking over the edge so I had my son call 911. Does anyone know if the emergency crews arrived in time? My children were with me and we are all concerned for this woman. Any news? Seemed like forever before we saw the emergency vehicles even though it was only @ 3 - 4 minutes. Has anyone heard anything else? (yours is the first report of this maybe jumper. hopefully it's not what you thought it was.)
12.31.08, anon, Tampa, Fl., (12.27.08, 11:30am, female), I work in EMS in the local area that responds to the Skyway and when EMS got onscene the car and woman had already left the scene. The only thing we can think is that she changed her mind and family and friends have helped her in her hard time. (then she is indeed a lucky one. thank you.)
01.02.09, Alex R., Bradenton, FL., Thank you so much for the response. I do hope the sirens (as there were many) made her think twice. Really appreciate you answering and letting me know that she left the scene. You all responded very quickly and obviously saved her.
any more info is welcome.
|12.26.08: save, male|
thank you, jumpnews
12.27.08, Baron, Bradenton, Fl., (12.26.08, 4:55pm), As I traveled northbound over the highpoint of the Skyway, there were three vehicles pulled off in the far right emergency lane, a marked highway patrol sedan with blue lights flashing, an unmarked white or silver colored sedan with blue lights flashing, and another large sedan ahead of these two cars that was empty, no driver, no passenger. As I passed these three cars, I glanced in my rearview mirror and noticed a smaller economy type car pulling over behind the other three. Lord Bless
tampabay.com, Timely talk on Skyway averts suicide attempt, By Stephanie
Garry and Jamal Thalji, Times staff writers
ST. PETERSBURG — Fire-Rescue Lt. Brad Dykens has lost count of the times he's arrived too late when someone wants to die.
The paramedic and crisis counselor has pulled onto the Sunshine Skyway bridge before, only to learn that a person already has plunged to the water 197 feet below.
But on Friday — the day after Christmas — he left work feeling ecstatic. He and Florida Highway Patrol Sgt. Jorge Santamaria had talked a 55-year-old man down from the Skyway, which is one of the most used bridges for suicide in the nation.
"Sometimes it's too late," Dykens said. "This time I'm happy to say we were there on time."
• • •
About 3:50 p.m. Friday, authorities received reports that a man had parked his white Grand Marquis on the bridge. Callers said he was leaning over the railing. He appeared to be praying.
In his eight years in counseling, Dykens said, he has helped probably a half-dozen suicidal people. But only once before had he saved a Skyway jumper, though that rescue had more to do with quick reflexes than persuasive talk. The man actually jumped, but Dykens and others grabbed his hair, arm and belt and flopped him back to safety.
"It wasn't pretty, but it was effective," said Dykens, a 24-year Fire Rescue veteran. "There's nothing more disconcerting than looking past his feet and seeing the abyss below. It's a long way down."
• • •
At first, the would-be jumper on Friday said he was praying for another man who plummeted from the bridge Christmas Eve. Then he admitted he was despondent, especially about Christmas. When Dykens asked about his holiday, the man answered with a stream of expletives. Dykens tried to listen.
He never found out where the man was from or why he was so upset. Counselors know it's not wise to ask for details; it will only make the person feel worse.
Dykens typically uses a familiar line with people considering suicide: "You're choosing a permanent solution for a temporary problem."
But the man on Friday stepped away from the side before Dykens even could use the line. He didn't want to jump.
He said the man gave a half-hearted thank you as he agreed to go with a trooper to the hospital for mental evaluation under Florida's Baker Act.
Dykens counts it as a victory, a nice change in what's been a tragic December for the Skyway, with three people jumping to their deaths in the past three weeks.
Dykens knows the holidays are hard for many people. He encourages people to reach out to friends or acquaintances who seem down. A small compliment or an inquiry into how they're doing can make a difference, he said. "I truly felt like I saved a life today," Dykens said. "That's more than any money can pay me doing this job."
(it's nice to see a detailed story. usually when they jump, it's more like "suicide guy ties up traffic on the skyway".)
any more info is welcome.
12.26.08, Amanda L. S., fbpda.org,
Florida Borderline Personality Disorder Association, (12.26.08, 3:30pm), I think
that it's very important to know that holding someone under the Baker Act for a
few hours or couple of days does not equate to getting any sort of meaningful
psychiatric help. Persons with severe mental illness are treated much
differently than those who go to the emergency room. Mental illness is still
seen as something that people have full control over and that suicide attempts
are selfish and an attempt to manipulate or control others. Those who are Baker
Acted and are still suicidal are forced to lie or make promises that they will
refrain from acts of self-harm in order to be released. This, of course,
increases the stigma and shame surrounding mental illness. Thank you for listing
names of persons who have taken their own lives as well as giving a people a
forum to discuss their grief. (while not all suicide attempts "are selfish and an attempt to manipulate or control others", some are. this, however, does not negate the need for help for these individuals.)
12.27.08, Lily, St. Petersburg, FL., Way to go Brad Dykens and Jorge Santamaria!!! There has been way tooooo many suicides from that bridge lately!!! Hats off to a good save!!!
|12.23.08: jumper, 4:36am, male, no
phones, hit water, died, body found same day
Victor David Stephens, 30
12.23.08, we heard about this jumper on wwba-am during the mark larsen show. 4:30am, left a dodge charger on the bridge.
12.23.08, steve, palmetto, (12.23.08, 4:45am), possible jumper
12.23.08, Adam, St. Pete, FL., (12.23.08, 6:30am), My partner said there were 5 HSCO officers with lights on at the top of the skyway this AM around 6:30 when he passed by. Not sure if there was an abandoned car or not.
12.23.08, Mark, Tampa, FL., (12.23.08, 6:00am), Driving southbound across the bridge at 6:26 AM and there were 3 cop cars at the top as well as a newer silver Dodge Charger with it's hazards on. There was a boat in the water with blue flashers and a helicopter running search patterns wiht the search light. They were well south of the bridge so depending on the current, I assume that the jump occurred much earlier.
12.23.08, zolter, largo, fl., (12.23.08, 4:36am, male, no phones, hit water, died), Fire Rescue searched water and was unable to find jumper. Fire Department responded back just after noon and was called to a body in the bay. Jumper pronounced at 12:40pm. Drivers license left in the car was for a 30 year old black male.
12.30.08, mc, Tampa, Fl., (12.23.08, 3:23am), I'm literally sick to my stomach right now. I heard about this site a couple of weeks ago regarding other "jumpers". My job requires me to drive over the skyway virtually every night. On this particular night, a silver charger passed me while I was in the right lane, ascending the southbound bridge. It got in front of me, put on its hazards, coasted to the apex of the bridge, and then pulled to the far right side away from the lane... Then it stopped.
A voice in my head said: "he's going to jump..." I couldn't tell if the driver was male or female as the windows were either tinted, or glare prevented me from identifying the person. But based on the way the car was driven up the bridge, I assumed it was a guy.
I wanted to stop, but I kept hoping that this person (whose car was in immaculate condition) had some sane reason for stopping his vehicle at the top of the skyway at 3:30am. Yeah, I'm feeling REAL stupid right now.
So great was my intuition that the person was going to jump (even though my rationalizations overcame it), that I made it a point to take note of the time as I descended the bridge.
I enjoyed my Christmas time off thereafter. Had a great time this past weekend. I had completely forgotten about the whole incident... until last night someone told me that three people "jumped" last week. The image of that shiny new car burst back into my mind, and I rushed home after work to check this site; only to find the very words that I dreaded to see... "Silver Dodge Charger".
any more info is welcome.
Hillsborough Sheriff, ABANDONED VEHICL 1 SKYWAY BG 0435 0751
12.23.08, Hillsborough Sheriff, SUICIDE ATT-INPR 1 SKYWAY BG 1233 1239 (this is odd, a possible attempt almost 8 hours after the previous service call? that and it only lasted 6 minutes. who knows what this is all about? thank you, Sarah A. in Happyville, FL.)
tampabays10.com, Skyway victim identified, Tampa, Florida --
Authorities have identified the body of a man pulled from the waters under
the Skyway Bridge today. He was Victor David Stephens, 30, of
[address withheld], Bradenton. The victim's
vehicle was discovered parked on top of the Skyway Bridge before dawn. The
death has been classified a possible suicide, according to the
Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office. (possible
suicide? the guy park's his car, ends up in the water below, and it's a "possible
suicide"? why have the recent "news" reports been so fraught with
12.24.08, bradenton.com, Bradenton man jumps from Skyway Bridge, By ROBERT NAPPER
HILLSBOROUGH — Authorities say a Bradenton man jumped from the Sunshine Skyway Bridge Tuesday in an apparent suicide. The U.S. Coast Guard found the body of David Stephens, 30, of [address withheld] in Tampa Bay, according to Hillsborough Sheriff’s Office officials. A search began after Florida Highway Patrol troopers found Stephen’s empty car at 4:30 a.m. at the top of the bridge. Stephen’s body was found later in the day, Hillsborough Sheriff’s spokeswoman Debbie Carter said. Sheriff’s officials have been in contact with Stephen’s family, but it is unclear why he jumped from the bridge, Carter said. “It is difficult sometimes to find out why. It is always sad when something like this happens,” she said.
|12.21.08: possible jumper, 6:20pm, male|
12.22.08, Marc, st petersburg, fl., (12.21.08, 6:20pm, male), I was driving northbound when i saw a guy on a scooter pull off to the right at the very top of the bridge. Im not sure if he jumped or not because i was starting to drive down the bridge and lost him in my rear view mirror but when i passed by the toll booth on the pinellas side there where two emergency vehicles. One was a Fire Truck and one an Ambulance. Im wondering if there is anyone behind me that saw the end of what happened.
12.22.08, Suzi W., Oldsmar, I too was northbound and saw the guy. The scooter was parked at the top and he was standing & looking over the edge.. I said "God, Please don't let him jump!". I has a very sick feeling in my stomach when I saw Fire rescue with the boat in tow. I felt so terrible about not stopping. I had my two daughter's with me. They are devistated to think that that young man took his life last night. I searched in tha paper & listened to tv for news but have heard nothing (sorry you had to see this man in what may be his last moment. many jumpers are not reported. we will post anything more here.)
any more info is welcome.
|12.15.08: jumper, 4:55pm, male, hit
water, died, body found same day
Alfredo Granaiola, 42
112.15.08, Mark, Tampa, FL., (12.15.08, 5:00pm), Coming north today arouond 5 PM and there were 3 cars stopped on top of the north bound side. One unoccupied, one girl looking over the barrier - looked to be crying and one car occupied. Passed the southbound rescue units as they were going through toll plaza. One SPB rescue unit had boat in tow.
12.15.08, zolter, Largo, (12.15.08, 4:55pm, male, water, died), PCFD dispatch
12.16.08, di, clearwater, (12.15.08, 5:00pm, male, died), I was on my way home from work and saw a car at the top of the Skyway with it's emergency blinkers on. By the time I crossed the bridge, there were already three sheriff's cars at the scene. A story today in the St. Pete Times confirmed there was a jumper.
12.16.08, Danielle, I was driving home from ellenton mall with my mom and sister and we saw the woman talking to the police around 5:30.
12.17.08, Geoff G., Tampa, I am the boater who picked Alfredo Graniola, age 42 out of the water. I know his name because I had to wait 3 hours to talk to every law enforcement agency in southwest Florida and the sheriff told me. At first I wanted to know why he would do something like that. If he had a family. By the way he was driving his girlfriends car. I hope I dont hurt anyones feelings, but I honestly never thought he was going to die. I saw the last 100 foot of his head first dive and it didnt look that bad. I kept waiting for him to surface. After about 30 seconds, I realized he wasnt coming up. I tried to pull my anchor but it was stuck. I almost sank my boat trying to help this guy, but it is now obvious he didnt want help. He sounded like a bird. It wasnt a scream of "Ive done it". It was more like what the fuck have I done. So after about 30 more seconds I told cody to cut the line. He hit the water about 20 yards from my boat. Ironicly I had 1 shrimp left and was about to leave. As we got to where he went in my buddys like there he is. About 10 feet behind the boat . I slammed it into reverse, stalled the engine, and the lady at the top of the bridge was screming down at us. Like I was an idiot. I wanted to tell her to jump in if she wanted to help. When we got to him it was about 3 minutes total. He was face down. It took all three of us to get him in the boat. He felt like he weighed 300lbs, but he was about 180. He had a perfect black circle on top of his head. Again it didnt look that bad. When we got him aboard he kinda moved a little bit, so I thought I could save him. He had foam coming out of his mouth and nose, but I attempted cpr anyway. It was absolutley the nastiest thing I have ever done. If you have never tried to perform cpr on someone who actually needs it. I'll try and explain. When I blew in his mouth his cheeks blew out then his chest blew up easier than you could imagine. Again I kept thinking he was gonna be ok, my buddy was on the phone with 911 while I was trying to revive him. By the way, he threw up in my mouth in between breaths. It was all I could do to keep going. They wanted us to go to Oniels, but there's a little piece of shore right before the fishing pier so I ran my boat aground. We carried him up to the shore so the paramedics could work on him. They performed cpr for about 2 minutes. Shocked him. Then injected him with some kinda efenerol or something like that .They pronounced him dead, covered him with a yellow sheet, and that was that. We had to wait about 3 hours waiting for a Hillsborough county detective, which was ridiculous. I do not know why god picked me to go thru this but he did. I will never forget it. I dont know what you get out of this website, but to each his own. If you ever had this happen to you, I believe you would look at it differently. I am a pretty tough guy and it is really bothering me. What if I had cut my anchor sooner. What if my motor had not of died within 10 feet of him. However I do take solace in knowing he didn't drown. That black circle (at this point, our news input form was full. geoff returned the next day and continues) on top of his head. After they removed the plastic sheet, to take his body away, was actually a rut in the top of his head. While I was giving him chest compressions, I could feel the bottom 2 or 3 ribs moving so I had to go higher up. Not only did he take his life that day. He impacted mine forever. Thank god the only time I havent taken my 4 yr old son with me fishing was that tragic day. I dont know how I would explain it or if I even would. Maybe like the fish we catch, he just got dead. In hindsight, I commend your website. It has really opened my eyes to this sort of thing. In a very macabe way it is interesting. Sad but interesting. The police told me the next few weeks would be worse. I have looked up everything Skyway related on the internet and this sight is absolutley the best. Thanx for letting me vent . P.S. If you are going fishing at the Skyway in the next few weeks. Don't stay outta the channel cause the Coastgaurd tells you to. You know!!!!!!!!! (we thank you for your touching story and for coming back to complete it. your tried attempt to save this man is commendable, as well as perhaps the most dangerous thing you have ever done. giving mouth-to-mouth to a stranger that is expelling foam from his mouth, then puking into yours, is something we would never do. mr. granaiola jumped from the bridge and, as you could actually feel for yourself, was battered inside to a point he was most likely going to die anyway. how do we know this? because we have run this jumper site for 10+ years and what we get out of it is the fact that when you hit the water head first like that, it's common that it does not kill you instantly. read this short description of what water impact is all about. would we want to save him? sure, we're not monsters. we would do whatever we could, short of inhaling his foamy mucous and stomach contents. however, we would immediately understand it was his desire to end his own life. he didn't just accidently fall off the bridge. he jumped deliberately in order to die. try to not beat yourself up about this experience. you went over the top and did the best you could under the circumstances and definitely more than most anyone else would have done. this man's eventual demise was not by your hand, it was by his. thankfully, your young son was not involved in your tragic day. no telling what drove him to end his life in a way that will effect you forever after, just be thankful you have a life to live and a son to share it with. thanks again, geoff, for your efforts and compelling story.)
opinion: someone out there give geoff the autopsy report, so he can see that he did all he could, to try and save a man that was doomed to an excruciating death anyway. just one time we'd like a complete autopsy report of a jumper to post on this site. if you suicide prevention professionals and skywaybridge.com detractors really want to hit these potential jumpers with a deterrent to jumping, we challenge you to show what jumping off that bridge will do to their bodies. pictures of displaced and torn organs and shattered bones, with vivid descriptions, are always welcome here. you can try to hide suicide from people and not talk about it, but if you really want to drive it home to a suicidal person, step up with the truth and reality of what happens to the human body when it slams into water and scrambles their insides. scaring the shit out of them will no doubt work much better than the years of trying to shut down this site and the decades of keeping quiet about suicide. your efforts do not work and it's time to try another way. maybe replace the crisis phones with graphic autopsy pictures and descriptions of horrid impact death. you people are fail and if you truly want to help, step the hell up or shut the hell up.
any more info is welcome.
12.15.08, Hillsborough Sheriff, SUICIDE ATT-INPR 1 SKYWAY BG 1712 2110
12.17.08, Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office press release: Alfredo Granaiola, dob: 09/16/66, [address withheld] Tampa, suicide, December 15, 2008 at 5:00 p.m., Skyway Bridge, Deputies responded to the Skyway Bridge this afternoon at approximately 5:00 p.m. in reference to a suicide. Shortly after deputies arrived they were informed that a body was recovered by the Florida Highway Patrol that had jumped from the Skyway Bridge. The victim was deceased at the scene.
tampabay.com, Skyway suicide victim ties up traffic
ST. PETERSBURG -- A man jumped off the Skyway Bridge just before rush hour, according to St. Petersburg authorities. His body was discovered by boaters under the bridge who pulled his body abroad. Rescue workers attempted CPR on him but he died on the scene, said Lt. Joel Granata, with St. Petersburg Fire and Rescue. Traffic was backed up on the north side of the bridge at about 5 p.m. as a result. The man was wearing a green shirt and tan pants, said Bill Proffitt, St. Petersburg police spokesman. There was no information on his identity. Nicole Hutcheson, Times Staff Writer (we have this story from geoff, above, and what does the newspaper focus on? "suicide victim ties up traffic". that's some stellar reporting.) the site then replaced that story with the following one three days later, sans traffic report.:
12.18.08, tampabay.com, Monday's Skyway suicide victim identified
ST. PETERSBURG -- The man who jumped off the Sunshine Skyway during rush hour Monday afternoon has been identified as 42-year-old Alfredo Granaiola of Tampa, according to the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office. Granaiola of [address withheld], was found by boaters who pulled his body aboard from under the bridge. Rescue workers attempted CPR but Granaiola died at the scene, said Lt. Joel Granata of St. Petersburg Fire Rescue. Nicole Hutcheson and Kim Wilmath, Times staff writer
12.17.08, A friend, Tampa, Florida, Please remove the description from
Geoff of this jumper. It will completely devestate his family if they read
(geoff's story needs to be told and will stay. how many times has this story happened,
yet no one can read it because it hasn't been told? people need to read it
and understand the consequences of jumping off the bridge. while we
understand the family may not like it, it will remain and perhaps smack
some reasoning into a potential jumper that just may read it. the true
devastation came when he jumped off the bridge. he
devastated his family and friends. he devastated geoff.
he no doubt devastated any number of first responders that came
to the scene. we can not in good conscience hide the facts so poignantly
told. if anyone can be helped with the telling of his story, it's geoff
himself. he was dealt a hand no one would volunteer for. this is the only
place where he can get this out and start his own healing. the newspapers
sure as hell won't publish it. no one will ever see this type of story
unless we post it here. please tell the family to stay away from
this site. stress to them the fact that if they do not want to
read the details of what happened, they need to stay off this website. they
search for answers here, unless they want to find them. the following
responses to geoff's story, proves it needed telling.)
12.17.08, Rae, Tampa, Florida, I am writing to Geoff who was the boater who found the body and performed CPR 12-15-08 on Alfredo. First of all I am so sorry for what you went through that day and what you may never erase from your memory. I am a close friend of the family of the man who jumped that day and I want you to know that he was one of the kindest most gentle family man I have known. He has a beautiful family, loving wife, wonderful son & daughter both under the age of 11 and elderly parents that he loved very much. He attended church regularly and had been to services the day before he jumped. He had a good job and all was well at work as far as we know. I am not aware of any girlfriend but his wife kept her maiden name. This is a terrible tragedy for all who knew him, especially his wife and children. This is a mystery to all at this time. I hope this information will help fill in some of the blanks for you. I want to thank you for trying to save him and ask that you now pray for his family! (we are truly sorry you lost your friend. suicide is a tragic event for any family and we hope they cope.) geoff responds here:
12.18.08, Geoff G., Tampa, thank you for commenting Rae. I absolutley knew he was a wonderful man. The way he was dressed. Just his whole auora. I went fishing today. Just to force myself to return to that spot and know it would not happen again. It is my favorite fishing spot in the whole world. It was a very succesful day. In my head I was thinking it was just fate. After fishing for abaout 3 hours we were headed back. Approximatley 4 o clock . I looked at were Alfredo was delivered to the paramedics. There were about 8 people huddled up at the site. I wanted so badly to pull up there like I had done on Monday. The only thing I would like to tell his wife is that I honestly think he regretted it about 1 quarter of the way down and I am sure he did. That is why I tried so hard. My thoughts and prayers go out to his family and by the way it was not his girlfriends car he was driving it was his sister in laws. I saw her name in the paper today. I wanted to go to the funeral today and talk to his wife, but my bad day and bad dreams cannot even compare to hers or her childrens, or the many people who loved him. God bless you Rae
12.18.08, Anon, My Prayers go out to Alfredo's Family Lord Jesus, our Redeemer, You willingly gave Yourself up to death so that all people might be saved and pass from death into a new life. Listen to our prayers; look with love on Your people who mourn and pray for their dead brother. Lord Jesus, You alone are holy and compassionate; forgive our brother his sins. By dying You opened the gates of life for those who believe in You; do not let Your brother be parted from You, but by Your glorious power give him light, joy, and peace in heaven where You live for ever and ever. Amen. (ugh... where was the baby jesus when alfredo was driving to the bridge? wouldn't it make more sense to intervene then? your redeemer? more like lord jesus, the failure.)
12.18.08, Terri S., Ruskin, Fl., This comment is for Geoff...Thank you for having the courage to put your comments on this site. I am sorry that you had to see this poor man in that state but now you are one more person that has been affected by suicide and will possibly be able to help someone else by telling your story. People need to be aware that suicide is real and it is permanent, if you have someone threatning suicide they will do it. DON'T WAIT FOR TOMORROW TO DO SOMETHING...TOMORROW WILL BE TOO LATE!!!! Unfortunately I never knew of this site until my brother jumped from the skyway on 10/18/08. Since then I have been obsessed with this site (it is the only place to receive info on jumpers) I wish I knew who found my brother and I would welcome any info that they have. I have learned alot about suicide and it is not a selfish act, it is a desperate act. When people commit suicide they are not in their right mind. My brother was not a suicidal person, he did not abuse drugs or alcohol. He was a family man who was faced with the fact that his wife no longer wanted to be married and it threw him into a fast and hard depression. He only wanted to end his pain, he could not comprehend what this would do to us, his family. I love and miss my brother very much but the sad truth is that if he were still here he would be suffering because his wife and children would not be with him and they were his life!!! If I could be of help to anyone please contact this site for my information.
12.18.08, Al's Friend, Tampa, I am friend of Alfredo and his family. He was honest and absolutely family man. He has a beautiful family, loving wife. We are not judges to judge what Alfredo did. I'm nobody either to talk about his wife and children, but I have to say that he was a good father, and I want to say to you if his children read this website one day, knowing that his father was very honest man and he loved so much his wife. I do not know where the reporter who got Alfredo drove a girlfriend's car, he was in his own car as far as I understand, and I can assure that Alfredo was not a man of having a hidden relationship. They are a family with values and principles. Their children are adorable, his wife is a great woman and he was an exemplary father. I am very sad for this tragedy.
12.18.08, Friend, Tampa, FL., This is for Geoff, the boater (the hero) who tried to save our dear friend Al on 12/15. First, the paper was wrong today, the services are on Friday & Saturday. Perhaps, oddly, there would be some comfort in his wife knowing that he was not alone in his last moments. It seems to me that God may have put you there to know your character and what you would do to save a human life. You are amazing. We spent time w/the family 2 days before he jumped, and there was no indication what-so-ever. He was talking about future plans and things were going upward with his job. It makes no sense to all those who knew and loved him. I wanted you to know that we are praying for you too and we are all so sad. Nothing could have been bad enough to do this. Our hearts are broken for his wife and children whose world stopped on Monday night. God bless you Geoff.
12.19.08, Florida Native, OHIO, I am writing in regards to Geoff's experience, I lived in Florida born and raised for 30 years. Only since I moved away has this type of event been so compelling. I guess when I lived there this kinda of stuff happened all the time and I just played it off, not knowing the real effects of how this touches peoples lives. Even of those who dont know the victims personally. I grew up in Palmetto, and I fished those same water you speak of weekly. I was a professional fishing guide at one point and used the skyway bridge as a place to catch bait for my daily trips. I always looked up at the bridge and wondered how someone could jump. Now I know why. You story has struck truth into the hearts of many. It could just have easily been me in my boat under that bridge at any given point. But it was you, and you did what I probably would have done tried to help a human live. I have run your story over and over in my head, even when I lay down to sleep at night. Probably because I can put myself in your position as a bystander who just happened to be there. Your story has literally changed my life and how I veiw growing up on those same waters. This has gone on all along and now your story has brought truth and reality to what is so tragic and has happened to so many before you. Thank you for Sharing your story as hard as it is to live with your words might change and save many. I am sorry for your greif and dealing with this, but you have made me see what so many seem to just forget or neglect to see. Florida Native in Ohio
12.19.08, anon, geoff, My prayers are with you and You are indeed a great person to try so hard to help someone. I lost my son to the Bridge in 2006. I would give anything if someone could tell me why and what really happened as they did not find him for days, IF not now in the future his wife and family I am sure would be comforted by you if you could talk to them at least some answers could be found. the hardest part for me is the lack of answers.
12.22.08, Anon, Tampa, FL., Please please please...I wish someone who was on top of the bridge would write in. We can NOT believe this really happened. Al was the most kind and gentle person I knew. He always was so happy and he truly was so in love with his wife and loved his children. Al had an aurora about him, he was the type of person that people were drawn to and felt like the new him forever even if they just met. Al you will always be loved and missed. (mystery usually surrounds suicide. "why?" is always the question. "we didn't know" is common, as the suicidal often hides their intention. some people can't or won't discuss the things that need to be discussed. it's kept bottled up inside until they can't take it any more. we are sorry you lost your friend. if any more contact is made, we will post it here.)
12.24.08, sierramist, st pete, I have worked on "The Bridge" for years & have visited this site from time to time. I wanted to respond to Geoff's writings. This "BEAUTIFUL" bridge is 3rd or 4th in the country for jumpers. That something else needs to be done is paramount!!! Geoff, you are to be commended for your efforts & need not feel sorry for anything that happened that day...was NOT your choice!!! We sometimes "joke" but it is NOT funny when half of St. Pete comes roaring thru the plaza. EVERYONE pauses for a moment, shakes there heads & says to themselves..."another jumper". It effects WAY more people than you know. In a strange & bizarre way, I know you & your site are trying to do some good. If people were more aware of the far-reaching impact they have, maybe they would think again about what they were about to do.
01.12.09, A., I was reading your site today. I noticed the fisher named Geoff who was upset that he was not able to save the man he pulled from the water. I know that it is not the jumper that I am associated with, however, if he is still having problems, I can talk to him. I have the medical and death reports and would be able to show him that there was NOTHING he could have done at that point. Or talk to him if he needs to about the matter. I am still wishing I hadnt READ it, I cant imagine him trying to see it in real life. You can forward him my email if you like. (we post your message here and maybe geoff will see it and respond. he used the web forms when he wrote us and as such, he did not leave an email address or any means to contact him. if he responds to your offer, we will forward same to you. thank you for your kind offer and we do hope you and your children are coping.)
|12.08.08: jumper, 10:39am, female,
died, body found same day
Ilona Gans, 61
12.08.08, zolter, Largo, (12.08.08, 10:39am, female), PCFR responding. Female jumped, multiple witnesses and vehicle with purse left on bridge. Units just getting on scene and begining search. 50-60 years old
12.08.08, zolter, largo, conflicting reports of male vs female. Body recovered.
12.08.08, zolter, largo, (used phones: no, died), Mentioned this afternoon on AM 820 WWBA. They stated male jumped from bridge and died. Body was recovered by Fire Dept Marine unit. Official time of death 11:09am.
12.09.08, Nightrider, St Petersburg, FL., Body was unloaded from contractor's boat at Maximo park and left laying on the dock until coroner and ambulance came to haul body away.
any more info is welcome.
Hillsborough Sheriff, SUICIDE ATT-INPR 1 SKYWAY BG 1042 1431
12.09.08, Hillsborough County Sheriff Office, Release Number: 08-405 For Immediate Release Public Information Office, Ilona Gans, DOB 1-26-47 [address withheld], Bradenton, Florida, Suicide, December 8, 2008 at 10:42 a.m., Sunshine Skyway Bridge, Approximately 10:40 a.m. the victim drove her vehicle (silver Mustang) to the Skyway Bridge. She pulled over on the southbound side, exited her vehicle, walked over to the side of the bridge where she jumped. Her body was discovered by Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office and recovered by St. Petersburg Fire Rescue.
12.12.08, saddened, daytona beach, FL., This was a good friend of our
family, female around 60 years old. She will be dearly missed. For the
money they spend each year trying to talk people out of this they should
be installing nets or some other preventative barrier to keep this from
happening. God Bless you EG! Your in a better place, surly god will
welcome you into the kingdom of heaven.
12.25.08, Jennifer G., Cleveland, OH., The jumper was my mother, Ilona Gans. She was facing depression and anxiety for about 10 years. I miss her so much and wish I could hug her to tell her how much I loved her - no matter what. Is there any advocacy group for the Skyway Sunshine Tampa Bay bridge? Why are there no fences or structural improvements?? (we are truly sorry for your loss. we're sure it's especially hard today. if there is an advocacy group for the bridge, they have not made themselves known to us and they would probably wish we would go away. the notion of nets or barriers has been brought up often. we address our opinion about them here.).
|12.04.08: jumper, 12:55pm, female, hit
water, died, body found same day
Lisa M. Koester, 25
12.04.08, Zolter, Largo, fl., (12.04.08, 12:55pm, female, hit water, died), PCFD dispatched 12:57 pm. body recovered floating in Bay. Details sketchy.
12.04.08, travis, st.petersburg, FL., hey my name is travis im 17 years old and witnessed a terrifying scene today i wason my way to apollo beach to wash a boat with my firend. as where going over the skyway we see this gold audi pulled over and looked and seen a women jump of the bridge at this time not probly five seconds before we see cops and fire rescue fly by us and pull over and look over the side it was very scary cuz the women i dont think from that high had hit the water yet i send a prayer out to her and her family
any more info is welcome.
|12.04.08, Hillsborough Sheriff, SUICIDE ATT-INPR 1 SKYWAY BG 1303 1703|
Woman's body found after jumping from Skyway,
A woman jumped off the Sunshine Skyway about 1 p.m. today, and her body was later found floating in Tampa Bay, authorities said. The Florida Highway Patrol received a call about the woman and were on the scene about six minutes later. Hillsborough sheriff's spokeswoman Vida Morgan said the FHP called saying they had found a woman's body floating in the bay. Hillsborough deputies are on the scene because that part of the bridge is in Hillsborough.
12.04.08, bradenton.com, Bradenton woman dies in jump from Skyway,
A 25-year-old Bradenton woman jumped to her death from the Sunshine Skyway Bridge Thursday afternoon, the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office said. Lisa M. Koester reportedly drove up the south side of the bridge, parked her car and jumped, according to Florida Highway Patrol. Her body was found by firefighters searching the area. The sheriff’s office released information about the death at 9:30 p.m. after her next of kin had been notified. The high span of the bridge is in Hillsborough County.
|12.05.08, anonymous, Bradenton, The woman that tragically chose to take her own life on Thursday, December the 4th, was a sweet, beautiful, & caring 25 yr old who was loved dearly by many and will be missed terribly I personally understand that sometimes even when you're surrounded by those who love and adore you, you can still feel completely alone and hopeless in your own mind. The family is in need of all the prayers they can get. Please, if you see the signs, don't ever put it past someone to take these kinds of drastic measures - NEVER allow yourself the chance of having to look back and wish you would have done more for someone. This is absolutely shocking and devastating and a permanent solution to a temporary problem. God be with her, RIP LMKK|
|12.02.08: save, male|
thank you, jumpnews
12.02.08, zolter, Largo, (12.02.08, 2:10pm, male, no phones), Male seen on railing of bridge. PCFD dispatched at 2:10pm. FHP officers arrived on scene immediately and quickly grabbed the individual as he attempted to fight back to the railing. He was taken into custody.
any more info is welcome.
|12.02.08, Hillsborough Sheriff, SUICIDE ATT-INPR 1 SKYWAY BG 1421 1427|
|11.30.08: possible jumper, 1:50am|
12.05.08, B.V.N., Bradenton, Florida, (11.30.08, 1:50am), I'm a 55 year old musician living in Bradenton. Last weekend, I played a gig in Largo Saturday night, got home at 2:10 am Sunday the 30th of November. I was southbound around 1:45 am on I275 and saw flashing blue lights at the top of the bridge. As I began my asention, the lights disappeared. When I got to the top of the bridge a minute or so later, I looked over to the northbound side and saw a car parked in the emergency lane and three young 20-30 somethings leaning over the two foot high cement wall looking down into the dark abiss. After I had decended at 60 mph for another minute or so, I notice a highway patrol car speeding back up on the northbound side. There was nothing reported about this incident on the NBC Tampa TV News nor the St. Pete Times newspaper the next two days. Lord Bless those tortured souls.
any more info is welcome.
|11.20.08: jumper, 4:00am, male, no
phones, hit water, died, body found same day
Louis DiCarlo, 33
11.20.08, Mark, Tampa, FL., (11.20.08, 5:00am), Coming south on the Skyway as I do every morning...at the crest of the bridge there were 3 law enforcement vehicles with emergency lights on and what looked like a black BMW (with it's lights on) pulled over on the right side of the road. Looked as though a jump investigation was under way. (you are correct about the bmw. it was running when the guy jumped and maybe still when you drove by it. one might assume when he stopped the car, he spent little time waiting to jump.)
11.20.08, we heard about this jumper on wwba-am during the mark larsen show. apparently, the guy's girlfriend died of an overdose last april. whether her's was deliberate or accidental, it's a suicide none the less.
11.20.08, zolter, Largo, FL., (11.20.08, 4:18am, died), PCFD dispatch at 4:18am Marine unit received confimed time of death at 5:59am
any more info is welcome.
|11.20.08, Hillsborough Sheriff, SUICIDE ATT-INPR 1 SKYWAY BG 0401 0739|
hcso press release, Suicide, November 20, 2008 at 4:00 a.m., Deputies
responded to the Skyway Bridge this morning at approximately 4:00 a.m. in
reference to a suicide. Florida Highway Patrol discovered a BMW parked on
the north side of the Skyway bridge. Shortly after deputies responded they
were notified that St. Petersburg Fire Rescue had recovered the body of an
unidentified male in the water. The body was taken to Maximo Marina where
the Hillsborough County Medical Examiner responded and took custody of the
body. At this time, authorities have a tentative identification of the
individual, but no name will be released until the Medical Examiner has
made positive identification.
11.21.08, heraldtribune.com, Man dies after jump from Skyway bridge, Staff Report,
HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY – An unidentified man was found dead in the water around 4 a.m. Thursday after apparently jumping off the Sunshine Skyway bridge, authorities said.
The man was identified Friday as Louis DiCarlo, 33, of Tampa, according to the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office.
The Florida Highway Patrol discovered the man’s BMW parked on the north side of the bridge early Thursday morning and notified the Sheriff’s Office, according to a report. St. Petersburg Fire Rescue found the body in the water shortly after and transported it to the medical examiner’s office.
Authorities believe they know who the man is, but it has not been confirmed by the medical examiner, the report said. (unidentified man is identified and is believed to be known but has not been confirmed? proof reader fail.)
11.20.08, Terri S., Ruskin, Fl., I am the sister of the 10/18/08
jumper and I was saddened to see that there was another jumper today.
My heart goes out to his family and I would like to offer my support
and assistance if needed. Most people will not understand what you are
going through but I am walking in your shoes. Please
contact this sight if you
would like information to contact me.
(thanks, terri, we appreciate your concern and hope that your
compassion helps you in return. we will pass any and all replies to
11.20.08, anon, tampa, fl., His girlfriend was found dead in hot tub alone in house about 6 month ago..he stated he didnt do it..hmmmm conscious? (and you know this how? recipe for death: overdosed and alone in a hot tub.)
11.25.08, A., Tampa, He was an amazing guy who had so much kindness and love in his heart and we are all devistated! It still doesn't feel real..His ex did die in April and he was never the same afterwards, but he tried to push thru( he didnt want to tell us how bad it was) There can never be a good enough reason to take your life.. Nor can we ever fully understand the reasoning behind the decision to do so or what went thru the minds of those who left us so quick...; But one thing we can do can do is to forgive them and not blame ourselves. I wish Louis knew how many people truly loved him, and how many of us are still crying now waiting for him to walk through the door with that beautiful smile and our nightmare to be over but we know that won't happen.We need to use this PORT HOLE to spread the word that there's help out there and not be jerks and take bets on who or when the next poor soul will decide to end their life.. okay wait how about.... never.. alittle positive thinking people.. God please be with these people who post,read, and most of all the families of the people who so unfortunatly will never see there loved ones again.
11.27.08, ss, tampa, fl., I WAS ONE OF THE CLOSEST PEOPLE IN LOUIS'S LIFE WORDS CANNOT DESCRIBE THE FEELING I FELT WHEN I GOT THE CALL. LOUIS WAS ONE OF THE STRONGEST MOST CHARMING INDIVIDUALS I HAVE EVER KNOWN. I WILL THINK ABOUT HIM FOR EVERYDAY. I WISH HE KNEW HOW MUCH MYSELF AND OTHERS LOVED HIM AND WOULD HAVE HELPED HIM WITH ANYTHING. THROUGHOUT THIS SITUATION MY ADVICE FOR OTHERS WHO THINK THAT SOMEONE IS DEPRESSED OR MIGHT KILL THEMSELVES IS HELP THEM AND BE MORE AWARE OF THE WARNING SIGNS.
12.05.08, HEIN, STPE, This whole situation is very, very tragic!!! I did not know this person personally but knew of him. I am very sad for his family. Some of the stories I heard about this person made me wonder..... When he took his life.
12.16.08, anon, Tampa, FL., Something has to be done to prevent these people from jumping!!! I realize you can't stop an actual suicide from happening if someone really wants to take their life, but what about prevention? Why doesn't FHP assign officers at the span 24/7 on a rotating basis!!! If they see suspicious activity about to happen, pull out the taser!! I would rather get a phone call from law enforcement stating that my loved one had been committed under the baker act than getting a phone call from the medical examiners office to come down to identify a body. Since (L) took his life last month, I can't even bear to look at that bridge. I wonder if he suffered, did he really want to do it or was he trying to prove a point. He's gone and his family is devastated beyond belief!!! (there is a device that could prevent jumpers. whether the political powers that be could recognize a good idea if it was shoved up their ass, is another matter.)
12.29.08, lisa, tampa, fl., all i want to say is whoever is "anon" and has commented on the november 20th jumper(and you know who you are) and you obviously knew him but obviously dont have your story strait about his girlfriends passing, HE HAD NOTHING TO DO WITH IT WHAT SO EVER......SO NEXT TIME GROW BALLS AND SAY WHO YOU ARE IF YOU HAVE ANYTHING NEGATIVE TO SAY YOU CAN CONTACT ME DIRECTLY (we do not read in anon's post that he claims mr. dicarlo had anything to do with it, just that he may have had a guilty conscience about something. did she indeed die of an overdose as the media reported? could mr. dicarlo possibly have provided some means to that overdose? we sure don't know, but stranger things have happened. maybe anon knows something we don't. it's all conjecture at this point.)
12.29.08, *M3@Ni3*, whoever you are you are a SICK TWISTED INDIVIDUAL. my brother was a jumper and i think that your website is stupid. how can you start a jumper pool? do you not care about the families of those who lost loved ones? some of the shit people write on there just blow me away. and you really shouldnt let people be anon cuz if they have something to say about someone who is no longer here then they should grow a set of balls and say who they are (we're sorry your brother did this to you. maybe you should direct your anger at him, as we didn't kill him. all we did was report his jump, which he brought upon his family by his own hand. we do hope you cope. please tell your family to stay away from this website. anyone is welcome to leave an anonymous comment using any name they choose, as we have no way of verifying real identities anyway. the choice is theirs in how they address themselves, much like we're sure your *M3@Ni3* can not be found anywhere on your birth certificate. do you know lisa from tampa? she too has an interest in anon people growing balls.)
12.30.08, Anon, Florida, It's a shame about his suicide and I'm very sad for his family. I do know, for a fact, that this person wasn't all about "a bed of roses". R.I.P., LD
03.08.09, Maria, Tampa Florida, I am the mother of Louis and whoever implied that he had anything to do with his fiance's death 6 months earlier. I'm sure the police did thorough investigations the girl hit her head as she slipped on the hot tub cover hit her head and obviouslly became unconsious. My son deeply loved this girl and to insinuate otherwise you are dead wrong as my daughter stated give us your name anon or was it you knew my son and was so jealous of him that you think you'll hurt him now, well you won't as he had a good reputation and was loved by all, and your words can't change that. Think about carma. We love and miss you so very much Your loving family. Their day will come.
03.08.09, Maria, Tampa Florida, The jumper was my son Louis. I just recently found out about your web-site and saw all the comments regarding Louis .I want to thank you all from the bottom of my heart. I am at a huge loss without him. He had his reasons.in which he left a letter to all of us in the immediate family. As I mentioned in an earlier post if you have nothing good to say and won't give your name, your immature comments are not needed. Once again thank you to all of Louis' friends that did respond with positive things to say about him. His mother, Maria
03.12.09, anon, Fl., withheld (anon, if you can't leave a name and only wish to blast maria, please keep your bullshit to yourself.)
02.18.11, Lisa, SP,FL., Sorry to say this so bluntly but I have to. Louis was my friend. I work at a therapist office so after Jeannies death, I kept asking Louis if he was ok. I just wanted to make sure he wasn't thinking of hurting himself. He assured me that he was not. Every Friday, Louis called me. Wanting to come over to see me and my child. I was working full time, going to school & being a mom. I did not take the time to see my friend. I have been guilt ridden over this since his death. Obviously, he was planning it and may have wanted to see us for the last time. This is not going to leave me anytime soon but maybe I can help someone who has lost a loved one due to suicide. I have to stop thinking "if I had seen him, he would have changed his mind, or maybe have talked more". I was left with his family member, who notified me, only for me to pay her cell phone bill, storage unit, Selling his tee-shirts & his girlfriends belongings. I would not let go of her HER because she was my only link to him. I finally drove over the bridge and that was it. I'm healing. I hope his "family member" that extorted me reads this. You know who you are L. Louis did nothing but try to protect, his niece, your daughter from you. He had me chasing you down on the streets to try to save you from your Drug addiction. Stop trying to make money or support your drug habit from his death. You were never there until he died. Only to quickly sell off his belongings and rummage through Jeannie's belongings. Just to see what you could get out of it. Trying to sell his tee-shirts was my final goodbye to you. Hopefully you are taking care of that little girl and not just you. POS, Sorry to the website but this was my way to finally speak my mind. I do appreciate your website. Where else would would I be able to say what I mean and mean what say ? I know the family member checks this site all the time. Probably looking for yet another donation. It should be up to his father & mother. Not his crackhead "family member". Thank you Phil for responding to me. It took me awhile to get up the nerve to do this. Just one more step in healing over Louis. (we hope telling your story helps you. we have documented far too many times how 'family' can drive members to suicide. when dysfunction rules some, it usually rules many. thanks for your input and we hope you can cope better now.)
muffin wrote on 11/21/2008 08:11:44 PM: It is a PERMANENT solution to a TEMPORARY problem. God bless his family I am so sorry for your loss.
marycontrary wrote on 11/21/2008 04:02:36 PM: Usually when someone has made up their mind to commit suicide, there is little that anyone can do to stop it. I have a relative that has been threatening suicide for many, many years. It makes me angry because I feel we have been held hostage by the threats, and it has made our lives h*ll at times. We will see more & more of this if things don't turn around in our country and get better. Especially sad is the person that makes a decision to take others with them, family members, co-workers, etc. The Skyway has been used for suicides from the time it was opened in the late 50's, and very few have survived. I was not trying to be facetious when I made my earlier comment. It is a personal, permanent decision that leaves many feeling guilty for not being able to help their loved one. (while many may feel guilty for not being able to help, others may feel guilty for possibly being responsible for the loved one jumping.)
Izzycool wrote on 11/21/2008 03:25:22 PM: What you people don't think a woman! can make you do jump? (feel free to take all those words and rearrange them into a sentence that makes sense.)
Miabella704 wrote on 11/21/2008 02:17:31 PM: I actually witnessed someone jumping a few years ago. I had my kids in the car and we were coming back from St Pete. It's very sad. I know things are tough right now but, like StopCriticizing said, if God brings you to it, He will bring you through it. No matter how bad things are, don't do that to your friends and family.
StopCriticizing wrote on 11/21/2008 01:22:26 PM: I know that things are very difficult for alot of us at this time, but don't let the devil fool YOU into giving him your soul. Have FAITH in GOD and he will see you through this very difficult time. It's not going to be easy, but keep your head up and know in your heart, that GOD has a plan for each and everyone of us! (yes, the devil is responsible, uh huh, right.)
marycontrary wrote on 11/21/2008 12:32:12 PM: Man dies after jump from Skyway...Wasn't that his intention? Mission Accomplished!!!
BubbaKnows wrote on 11/21/2008 10:05:24 AM: With all of the market losses, I'm surprised they are not jumping off at a higher rate. Its only 1$ for the Skyway Retirement plan. Such a deal. (most employers offer this plan to all employees.)
|10.18.08: jumper, 7:00am, male, hit
water, died, body found same day
Chad Eugene Bennett, 35
10.18.08, CB, Tampa, (10.18.08, 9:40am), I work in a traffic department where I have to monitor Police websites for info. I saw on Florida Highway Patrols website, right now, it says Skyway Bridge SB at Top - Suicide. Just thought I'd pass it along if you want to check into it.
any more info is welcome.
|10.18.08, Hillsborough Sheriff, DEAD PERSON 1 SKYWAY BG 0827 1307|
tbo.com, Man's Body Found Near Sunshine Skyway Bridge,
by DAVE NICHOLSON, The Tampa Tribune, A man's body was found this morning in Tampa Bay about an hour after an abandoned vehicle was discovered on the Sunshine Skyway Bridge.
Hillsborough County sheriff's detectives are the investigating the death as an apparent suicide from the bridge. The vehicle was discovered at about 7 a.m. and the body found nearby an hour later, the sheriff's office said.
The man's name wasn't released pending notification of his relatives. (thanks biggy, tampa, florida)
10.20.08, Hillsborough Sheriff, Release Number: 08-344 For Immediate Release, Public Information Office, October 20, 2008, Debbie Carter: Chad Eugene Bennett, DOB 1-24-73, Riverview, FL., Apparent Suicide, October 18, 2008, Skyway Bridge, Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office detectives are investigating an apparent suicide from the Sunshine Skyway Bridge on Saturday, October 18, 2008. At approximately 7:00 a.m. an abandoned vehicle was discovered on the bridge, and within an hour the body of Chad Bennett was found nearby in the waters of Tampa Bay. (thanks to Bill E., Riverview Fl.)
10.20.08, cooki, Deltona, FL, A girl from works boyfriend just
10.21.08, Nancy,W., Brandon, FL., This was a young man with alot going for him. His family will truly miss him.
01.07.09, Terri S., Ruskin, Fl., I am a surviving family member of a recent jumper and I decided to take part in the independent film that is mentioned on this website. I contacted the film-maker through this website and he responded back to me, we set up a time to meet. He came to my home and setup some equipment and allowed me to tell my story. He was very professional and very concerned about the issue of people jumping off the skyway. As hard as it was to tell my story on camera I believe we all need to tell our stories in hopes that someone will see them and not jump. After all isn't that why we are obsessed with this website? I would highly recommend that anyone who has been affected by a skyway jumper contact this film maker and tell your story. The littlest bit of information that you might have on a certain jumper may bring a little bit of peace or closure to a family. I know that I would welcome any info that someone might have on my brother, Chad Bennett 10/18/08.
07.05.12, Catherine P., Brandon, Fl., Message for (Terri sister & Mom Carol). I cried a month ago ...When I saw it online. I knew your family. We should talk? (we passed your message to terri, but it was returned 'undeliverable'. perhaps she will see this and contact us for your email address.)
11.27.12, Jen C., Tampa, FL., When I think about Chad I recall his smile, laugh, and great sense of humor. Athough I didn't see him often (extended family; my uncle married his sister), whenever I did we laughed nonstop. Such was contagious with him. He was a good guy. Very down to earth. He had a natural, fun loving spirit about him. Thus, I will never understand why. -j (RIP CHAD BENNETT, RIVERVIEW, FLORIDA)
|10.07.08: possible jumper|
Hillsborough Sheriff, SUICIDE ATT-INPR 1 SKYWAY BG 1749
10.07.08, Hillsborough Sheriff, SUICIDE ATT-INPR 1 SKYWAY BG 1728 1832 1h4m
any more info is welcome.
|09.30.08: jumper, 1:30pm, male, no
phones, hit water, died
Steven Picciuto, 32
09.30.08, T S., Apollo Beach Fl., (09.30.08, 01:00pm, hit water), I was headed toward Manatee County when I saw a St. Pete Fire boat enroute to O'Neills with lights on. Got to top of skyway and saw a small blue car parked on top with 4 cop cars behind it. Several workers talking to cops and looking and pointing over the side of bridge.
any more info is welcome.
|09.30.08, Hillsborough Sheriff, SUICIDE ATT-INPR 1 SKYWAY BG 1327 1715|
|tbo.com, Fishermen saw him jumping from center span. Car found on bridge with diary inside.|
05.22.09, from a
tbo.com article, ...The ripples from Picciuto's jump haven't stopped
spreading. Picciuto, 32, pulled his car into the hazard lane of the bridge
about lunchtime one day in September. Traffic whooshed by. A diary sat by
his side. He stepped from the car and went over the barrier. He and his
wife, Alyson, had been separated about two years. His addiction to alcohol
and drugs had wrung out the last of her patience. They talked often, and he
remained a doting father to their two children.
"His pain is over, but our pain has just started," Alyson said. "It's like breaking a glass, with a million pieces going everywhere. You can never pick up all the pieces, all the shards."
10.02.08, RALPHIE, BRADENTON,FLORIDA, GOOD LUCK YOU FRIGGIN NUTCASES,
JUST LOST AN EMPLOYEE THE OTHER DAY TO THE BRIDGE 9/30 OR 10/1
10.03.08, unknown, I was hoping this wouldn't make the site, but I see it has. Yes, there was a jumper on the 30th. He passed away. I know you guys like to cover these stories and keep track of them, however, the man left behind two young children and I am begging you not to publish his full name. He has a daughter (age 11) and a son (age 4). I am the childrens mom and ex of the deceased. My daughter uses the computer often and knows how to use google and just learned how to google peoples names and loves to do so. I don't need her to see this. She knows daddy committed suicide, and if she ever saw this, it would destroy her even more. If you could just leave it the way it is on the site now, I am begging you to do so. His family does not need to come accross this either. (we respond: we are truly sorry for your loss and more so for what he has done to his children. one of the main reasons we have this site is to point out that jumping off the bridge is not just a way out of your misery, but simply a way to pass your misery on to those that know and love you. we will leave the particulars of his jump as they are now. again, we hope your children cope. we have children and can not imagine doing this to them.) we receive a reply:
10.04.08, Thank you for your condolences. And I understand the site, and honestly, don't have a problem with it. I would actually be interested in what the police reports say and all that, my only concern was the use of his full name for the reasons I stated and i hope you can understand why. I don't really have any more info for you on the jump itself, however from what the police told us, there was no hesitation. I can not believe he has done this to his children, my youngest keeps asking when daddy will be done being dead so he can come to his b-day party (which is only two weeks away). It is aweful. And if your site even keeps one person from taking their own life, it is worth it. it would have gotten better for him, he just couldnt wait any longer, his suffering is done, and his childrens is only beginning. (we respond: several times we read your line, "my youngest keeps asking when daddy will be done being dead so he can come to his b-day party..." how tragic. as a mother, how do you cope with this? we wish there was a way to post at least a part of this, as it truly describes the pain and confusion left behind by those that jump from that damn bridge. we do applaud you having told your children the truth. thank you very much for your input.) we receive a reply:
10.04.08, It kills you doesnt it? And that isn't even the worst thing I have heard come out of my childrens mouths the past few days. He is too little to be able to understand the finality of death. I was told not to lie to them about what happened, although they have been given age appropriate details (whatever the f**k that mean in this case right?) Anyway, if you want to post from these last emails you are welcome to.(we respond: thank you for allowing us to post this. perhaps if someone reads this while thinking of suicide, maybe they will think again. we wish you and your children all the best in these trying times and do hope all those concerned find solace soon.)
|09.28.08: jumper, 5:10pm, female, hit water, lived
Gina Rue, 43
09.28.08, zolter, largo, fl., (09.28.08, 5:17pm, female, lived), multiple reports:
17:20- scanner dispatch 5:10pm. 45-50 yo female. jumped off bridge. screaming in water in pain. private boat assisting. rescue enroute
17:28- coast guard with 8 minute eta to o'neills marina. advises patient with severe back pain, bleeding from the eyes and facial lacerations.
17:46- Patient loaded in ambulance enroute to bayfront at 5:45pm. PCFR reports that patient did jump from center span.
17:53- Patient is alert and oriented x 3. Speaking with medics. She is with difficulty breathing with large hemotoma on the back. They may begin airway intervention. Estimated height > 140 ft. (that has to hurt. thank you, zolter, for your multiple input.)
09.28.08, Ellenton Dave, Ellenton, Florida, (09.28.08, 5:10pm, hit water), Right in front of me at the top of the bridge this afternoon. Southbound lanes came to a stop as 3 people ran from their parked cars and rushed to the west railing/ traffic boundary. Too late, the looked in horror as their loved one fell to their death. Erie - I was the last car to drive by, before traffic parked to "rubber neck" the grief of the participants attempted to stop the jumper.
any more info is welcome.
|09.28.08, Hillsborough Sheriff, SUICIDE ATT-INPR 1 SKYWAY BG 1717 2118|
Jumper survives plunge from Skyway
ST. PETERSBURG - Paramedics say a 43-year-old woman survived a jump from the Sunshine Skyway's center span on Sunday.
It was just after 5 p.m. when reports reached St. Petersburg Fire & Rescue's Marine Unit that someone had jumped off the bridge.
A Coast Guard ship happened to be sailing under the bridge at the time, and the woman splashed into the water only about 100 feet from the ship.
The Coast Guard rescued the woman from the water and took her back to O'Neil's Marina, where she was treated for back pain and cuts. She was taken to Bayfront Medical Center in serious condition.
The Skyway Bridge road deck rises to nearly 200 feet above the water, and the span has seen its share of suicide jumpers. The state installed six crisis hotline phones along the center span in 1999, and runs 24 hour patrols. (story removed from source website.)
09.28.08, tbo.com, Woman Hospitalized After Jumping From Skyway
A woman who jumped from the center span of the Sunshine Skyway on Sunday afternoon was rescued by a U.S. Coast Guard boat and taken to a local hospital with serious injuries, authorities said.
Gina Rue, 43, landed in the water about 100 feet from a Coast Guard boat on routine patrol at 5:14 p.m., St. Petersburg Fire & Rescue Lt. Joel Granata said.
The Coast Guard pulled Rue out of the water and took her to a nearby marina, where she was treated for cuts and back pain, Granata said. Surveillance cameras on the bridge alerted authorities to Rue moments after she leaped, Granata said.
She was taken to Bayfront Medical Center and was listed in serious condition.
A jump from the 197-foot high center span can shatter bones, authorities said. Rue was fortunate that a patrol boat was near because those who survive the fall often drown, Granata said.
"She's going to live," Granata said. "The Coast Guard was in the right place at the right time." (story removed from source website.)
09.28.08, tampabay.com, Woman, 43, survives jump from top of Sunshine Skyway bridge,
By Rita Farlow, Times staff writer,
ST. PETERSBURG — A woman jumped off the highest portion of the Sunshine Skyway bridge and lived Sunday evening.
Gina Rue, 43, fell the 197 feet from the center span above Tampa Bay at 5:15 p.m. Boaters alerted a nearby U.S. Coast Guard unit, which pulled Rue out of the water and brought her ashore.
She was taken to Bayfront Medical Center with serious injuries, including back pain and facial lacerations. But Rue was expected to survive, said St. Petersburg Fire and Rescue Lt. Joel Granata.
The Coast Guard unit was only about 200 yards away from where Rue splashed into the water. They were preparing to board another vessel at the time.
"We just happened to be at the right place at the right time," said Shawn Fitchko, 29, a boatswain's mate second class on the unit.
Fitchko said Rue was clutching a floating seat cushion that a boater had tossed to her when the Coast Guard vessel reached her.
He said Rue, who was wearing jeans and a T-shirt, was alert and was able to move her fingers and toes. He talked to her to try to keep her conscious.
"She was wondering why she was alive, actually," he said.
People don't often survive a jump from the high span of the bridge, but it has happened on rare occasions.
Updated statistics weren't available Sunday, but a St. Petersburg Times article in 2003 reported that at least 127 people had died jumping from the bridge since it opened in April 1987, making it one of the most-used bridges for suicide in the nation.
A Times article a year earlier stated that only about a half-dozen people had survived the fall. Famously, a Rottweiler named Shasta also survived the jump in 1998 when she was either carried by or followed her suicidal owner over the edge. The man died.
People who make the jump hit the water in about 3.5 seconds going about 75 mph. The impact typically breaks bones and ruptures organs. Even if the impact doesn't kill them, people are knocked unconscious and drown.
Over the last decade, the Times has interviewed two people who survived the jump. Both said they regretted the decision to jump just before they hit the water. The impact was so violent that it ripped off of their clothes.
One survivor, whose bowels were ruptured and back broken, described the feeling as like crashing through a wooden deck. A nearby boater rescued her.
The other survivor suffered a collapsed lung, broken ribs, ruptured spleen and fractured vertebra in his neck. He swam to nearby rocks and was rescued.
Over the years, state officials have taken steps to try to prevent people from jumping, including installing crisis phones and assigning Florida Highway Patrol troopers to patrol the bridge for potential jumpers.
If you are having suicidal thoughts, you can call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK.(comments follow article.)
journal.com, I Choose to Live!
Can you imagine dying from such excruciating pain where your organs rapture and all your bones break from landing in water at 75mph in 3.5 seconds coming from 197 foot? That’s what has happened 127 times at the Skyway since it opened in April 1987, the St. Petersburg Times article reported in 2003. I don’t understand why someone would want to die in such a painful way. Most people say that suicide is a way of being at peace and an escape from pain then why get that escape by committing suicide in one of the most painful ways imaginable? The TBT reported that most people who survived jumping from the Skyway Bridge stated that they regretted jumping right before hitting the water. I’m sure they did, as I’m sure I would if I was driving drunk and I got pulled over, I would regret drinking right as the sirens went on. So that’s why I don’t do it. And I don’t mean to be insensitive to someone else’s pain or troubles but my concern is what could be so bad to not only think but go through an attempt to end your own life and why in such a terrible way? This is not just suicide, it is torture. Take Gina Rae as an example, who was the last person to attempt suicide on the Skyway and guess what? She survived! WOW! Now, according to the TBT, she suffers from back pain and face lacerations. So now my question is, is there going to be another attempt or will she be thankful for another chance at life and thank God for saving her?!
|11.08.14, Gina, blogs.psychcentral.com, I am suicide attempt survivor. 6 years ago, I jumped off the sunshine skyway bridge. Fell 197 feet. I was in icu for a week then sent to the psych ward, where I never really talked about what I had done. It was not my first attempt (others were pills) but it will be my last. I am not scared of dying, just afraid of failing another attempt. Are there others who feel like this? Also, I had terrible guilt of surviving because a man jumped off the same bridge two days later and died. Why did I live and he didn’t. I still am torn by that.|
|09.04.08: possible jumper|
09.04.08, Bill E., Riverview, (09.04.08, 4:30pm), Going over Skyway, noticed Helicopter circling. County Police SUV at top of bridge northbound. I could not see what county, but was typical white with green stipes. Could not notice any abandoned car due to all of the painting trucks and equipment. Let's see if any news developes. (thanks again, bill. who knows what's going on with the bridge painting. they've already celebrated the one year painting anniversary.)
any more info is welcome.
|08.15.08: save, male|
thank you, jumpnews
08.15.08, Mike S., New Port Richey, FL., (08.15.08, 12:15pm, male, was stopped from jumping), I was driving south bound on the skyway bridge around 12:12 PM and I noticed an older red pick up truck with the hazard lights on, pulled over to the emergency lane. I immediately thought this may be a jumper. Sure enough as I passed the truck, I saw a man with his right leg over the wall and he was doing the sign of the cross. I continued to drive while looking in the review mirror and the man never jumped. I didn’t think he would jump. He was only half way up the bridge. My first thought was that, if he did jump, he probably would survive. I felt he was crying out for help with this false attempt at suicide. The man seemed to be in his late 30’s and was dressed in shorts and a t-shirt, as if he had just come from the gym. He was white, thin, dark hair.
any more info is welcome.
tampabay.com, Highway Patrol prevents suicide attempt on Skyway bridge
Traffic on one southbound lane of the Sunshine Skyway bridge was shut down for about 20 minutes this afternoon while the Florida Highway Patrol responded to a man's suicide attempt. The man had parked his red GMC pickup truck and was sitting on the wall shortly after noon. Troopers had him in custody by 12:30 p.m., said FHP spokesman Sgt. Steve Gaskins. The man was "contemplating suicide by jumping off the bridge," Gaskins said. --Mariana Minaya, Times staff writer. (any more info is welcome.)
|06.08.08: jumper, male, hit water, died
Daniel Collinsworth, 53
several reports from under the bridge. thank you, jumpnews boater reporters:
06.08.08, Scanner, Largo, FL., (2:30pm, male, died), Monitoring on scanner. Body recovered.
06.08.08, TS, Apollo Beach Florida, (2:00pm, male, hit water, died), Was fishing at bridge when he jumped off the bridge. He hit the water face first. CPR was performed for a brief minute by another fisherman.
06.08.08, Patrick H., Lakeland, FL, USA, (06.08.08, 3:30pm, male, no hotline phones, hit water, died, body found same day), my parents almost got hit by the jumper today when he fell 50ft from them.
06.09.08, Visiting Sailor, (06.08.08, male, hit water, died), Witnessed Jumper enter water Approx 50 yars ahead of our sailing vessel while approaching bridge. Persos on initial reacting fishing vessel was a medic and pronounced DOA within 10 mins. White male, 40's Wearing Red & White shirt. Hillsborough Sherrif vessels were on scene approx 30 mins after initial radion call. Coast guard small craft responded approx 45 mins after initial call. My initial thoughts were I was witnessing a drug drop as the fishing vessel was at the victim within a minute and had him pulled in very quickly. (thank you for your service and your report. stay safe.)
06.10.08, SpecialK, tampa, fl., Male; 53yrs old ... Family member committed suicide when he decided to jump off the Skyway Bridge. Not sure what he hit when he did land, but he did not survive.
06.11.08, anon, Tampa, FL., 06.08.08, 2:00pm, male, hit water, died), I saw something falling into the water(had no clue it was a human) and saw the big splash as the jumper landed approximately 200 ft in front of the boat I was on. Pulled up next to a small fishing boat and saw the jumper's body (in red and white clothes with shoes missing) floating in the water and watched as 2 fishermen pulled his body into their boat. The folks on the sailboat contacted the Coast Guard. I watched as one of the fishermen attempted CPR, which he did not know how to do but at least tried anyway, and his hands were covered in blood because the jumper was bleeding everywhere.
any more info is welcome.
|06.08.08, Hillsborough Sheriff, DEAD PERSON 1 SKYWAY BG, 1433, 1903, 4h30m|
01.11.11, myfoxtampabay.com, (excerpt from story)..."These drugs that
people are getting are absolutely brain candy, that's what your brain wants. They are very similar to endorphins when your first kid is born or you win a race, that's what surges though you," he said. "Everything else becomes secondary, everything revolves around the pills."
Denise Collinsworth lost her husband Dan, who was addicted to pain medications. He jumped to his death in 2008 from the top of the Sunshine Skyway Bridge. His cause of death was ruled a suicide, and Collinsworth blames the Oxycontin and other pain killers he was taking.
She believes there are many cases out there just like her husband's.
"Once you start talking with people, they will say he had this injury. 'Oxycontin?' I say. They'll say he lost his job, the house, his family, the dog, they lose everything because of these pills." Collinsworth is not alone.
"Most of all the suicides, we have some sort of drug in them," Dr. ogmartin says....(skip)
...Denise Collingsworth says her mission is to get the word out about these pain pills, deadly addictions, and a jump that might otherwise go undetected. "This is not right," she says.
|05.21.08: possible jumper|
Hillsborough Sheriff, SUICIDE ATT-INPR 1 SKYWAY BG 0926 1044
any more info is welcome.
|05.02.08: article • Last stop: Battling the draw of a suicide bridge|
msnbc.msn.com, Patrol thwarts jumpers at notorious Florida spot, but
program may get cut .
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — Working suicide patrol on the towering Sunshine Skyway Bridge, Florida Highway Patrol Sgt. Leif Cardwell rolled up to find the 58-year-old woman with one leg already draped over the short concrete barrier wall. The license plate on the Ford minivan she drove there said: “HPPY NOW.”
Cardwell kept his distance, imploring her to talk to him about her problems and not go through with it. He had thwarted a bridge suicide attempt two months before.
“It’s too late,” she kept saying. She threw down her driver’s license and cell phone and swung her other leg over.
Then she was gone, just like that.
Seconds later came a loud crash when she hit the water. “It was a very windy day, it was noisy, but it was clearly audible...,” recalls the 38-year-old trooper. “It is a violent way to go.”
Despondent souls keep stopping at the peak of the majestic Florida Gulf Coast landmark to kill themselves every year, adding to its reputation as one of the country’s most notorious bridges for jumpers.
It’s a problem that the state has tried to address with 24-hour patrols, surveillance cameras and crisis hot line phones at the top. Now it’s possible that the bridge patrol, which troopers say has saved dozens of lives since it was initiated in 2000, could be cut back as the cash-strapped state government struggles to make ends meet.
Ten people jumped to their deaths at the Skyway last year. But seven others were talked out of it or wrestled away from the edge by one of the troopers who drive back and forth across the 4-mile bridge around the clock specifically for that reason. One night last month, a trooper found a silver Jaguar abandoned by a 22-year-old man whose body was found in the bay; then the following day, the same officer stopped a 39-year-old would-be jumper.
Around 120 people have killed themselves there since the higher, cable-supported version of the Skyway opened in April 1987, carrying traffic across the mouth of Tampa Bay on Interstate 275.
For unknown reasons, the rate started picking up in the mid-1990s, and over the past decade an average of eight people a year have died there, highway patrol and sheriff’s office statistics show.
The worst was 2003: 13 dead, 10 other attempts.
Patrols thwart suicide attempts
Those who fall the roughly 200 feet from the center span of the bridge hit the dark water in less than four seconds, moving at around 75 mph. The impact tears away their clothes, shatters bones, ruptures internal organs. Some hit the rocks.
The vast majority drive less than an hour to get there, paying the $1 toll to get on the bridge. Many leave notes in their cars. Records show them coming at all hours on every day of the week. The most popular day: Sunday.
Former Gov. Jeb Bush asked the Department of Transportation to look into the possibility of installing new barriers or even nets. Those ideas proved unrealistic because of the aerodynamics of the bridge and other factors, but the push resulted in the installation of the six crisis hot line phones and 24-hour patrols.
By being constantly on or around the bridge, troopers have thwarted more than 90 suicide attempts since 2000, the highway patrol says. Regardless, a state Department of Transportation spokeswoman acknowledged that the $330,000-a-year program that pays troopers to work extra duty on the Skyway is being scrutinized as the agency tightens its belt.
The key to saving people, officials say, is being able to get an officer there within minutes after a car stops on the bridge, which is not otherwise accessible to pedestrians.
By then the more resolute have already jumped, some not even bothering to shut off the engine. But many are still sitting in their cars crying when the officer rolls up. Or they’re out, pacing or sitting on the 3 1/2-foot-high wall. If the trooper can get to them, they’re taken into custody for a mental evaluation.
“There are some who aren’t committed to jumping, and those are the ones we can save,” says highway patrol Lt. Harold Frear, who coordinates the bridge detail. “We don’t want them to sit up there long enough to think about it and decide they want to go through with it.”
Trooper Dan Cole worked the detail a couple times a week for around four years and never lost anyone over the side.
“I think I’ve physically grabbed six off the wall, two that had been totally hanging over the wall,” says Cole, who received a commendation for one of the saves.
Why jump off a bridge?
Some believe that nothing short of a barrier or fence will solve the problem for good. That’s been the response in other places.
A barrier is being studied for San Francisco’s Golden Gate Bridge, widely regarded as the most popular suicide spot in the world. At least 1,250 people have jumped from the bridge since it opened in 1937.
Construction of an 8-foot fence is expected to begin next year to deter jumpers at Seattle’s Aurora Bridge, where at least 40 people have killed themselves in the past decade. A barrier is also in the works for the Cold Spring Canyon Arch Bridge in Santa Barbara, Calif.
Suicides were reduced from around 20 a year to zero at Toronto’s Bloor Street Viaduct after the construction of a barrier in 2003.
Why jump off a bridge? Survivors have cited convenience and the romanticism associated with ending their lives in beautiful locales, floating through space before being enveloped by the water and then darkness.
“They think of transcendental flight through the air and then they’re going to hit the water and drown,” says Dr. Lanny Berman, executive director of the American Association of Suicidology. “This isn’t in their mind that it’s going to be as traumatic a death as it is. It has some magical thinking attached to it.”
“Maybe they think it’s a sure thing,” offers Cardwell, the state trooper. “Maybe for those who don’t want to commit suicide, it’s a way to get attention pretty quickly.”
“I honestly have no idea why,” says Mary McNamara of Sarasota, whose troubled 31-year-old son became the first bridge suicide of 2008 on Feb. 12. His body still hasn’t been found.
A 49-year-old woman who killed herself at the Skyway in August told one of her sisters that she decided to do it after seeing “The Bridge,” a 2006 documentary about jumpers at the Golden Gate Bridge.
'It was a big mistake'
Experts note that once a locale gets a reputation as a suicide spot, it inevitably attracts more people there to do the deed. And the Skyway’s reputation is established.
In 1998, a 100-pound Rottweiler named Shasta went over with her owner, a 44-year-old Lakeland man. The dog survived and became a local media sensation as animal-lovers clamored to adopt her.
A Tampa woman named Katherine Freeman fatally shot her ex-husband and tried to strangle his wife in May 2000. She drove to the bridge and jumped, only to become one of the half dozen or so people who have survived the fall from the center. She recovered and was sentenced to life in prison.
A year later, a St. Petersburg man named Hanns Jones also survived.
The now 42-year-old artist and inventor was despondent over business pressures, heavy drinking and a horrible fight with his wife.
At around 5 p.m. on May 30, 2001, he drove his old red Ford pickup to the top. The John Lennon song, “I’m Losing You,” was playing on the radio on the way. Or maybe it was in his head.
“Right after I jumped I thought it was a big mistake,” he says.
It wasn’t what he expected.
“You just accelerate, accelerate so fast and then it stops,” he says. “But when you stop, you don’t feel like you hit water. You feel like you hit the concrete.”
Despite multiple rib fractures, internal bleeding and a collapsed lung, he was able to swim to the rocks near one of the pylons. He was sitting there naked when rescuers arrived, and then spent weeks in the hospital recovering.
Jones says he’s fine and happy today, and he often wonders why he survived when so many others didn’t. But he understands why they come to jump.
“You get to that point and it seems surreal,” he says. “You just want that unbelievable pain to go away.”
|04.21.08: possible jumper|
Hillsborough Sheriff, SUICIDE ATT-INPR 1 SKYWAY BG 0133, 0224, 0h51m
any more info is welcome.
|04.11.08: jumper, 4:30am, male, hit water, died
Gaetano Zupa, 22
04.11.08, Mark, Tampa, (04.11.08, 6:00am), I travel from Tampa to Sarasota everyday...just came over the Skyway at 6:50 AM and there were 5 police cars on top of the bridge on the south bound side along with a light colored (gray or a light blue or green) Jaguar X-Type. There were also 2 boats with flashing lights running search patterns on the bay side of the bridge.
04.11.08, Paul S., Sarasota, FL., (04.11.08, 4:30am, hit water), WWBA 820 news is reporting that a car was found with the keys in the ignition at the top of the skyway. A person was also seen standing on the barrier ready to jump as they went by. Authorities are combing the water below as I write this (we caught that on mark's show as well.)
04.11.08, Gilligan, St. Pete, FL., F.W.C. boats and helicopters are reportedly circling in the vicinity of the bridge. I overheard a boater calling the Coast Guard on the marine band radio, he was saying there may be someone in the water. Possible Jumper? Oh the suspense!
any more info is welcome.
|04.11.08, Hillsborough Sheriff, DEAD PERSON 1 SKYWAY BG 0442 0719|
04.12.08, Gilligan, myspace, By the way... Gilligan has got you covered for the marine band radio. Did we actually get a confirmation on yesterday's jumper? Inquiring minds want to know? (thank you for your support. we heard about it ourselves on the wwba-amplitude modulation band radio several times. that and the sheriff's department is confirmation enough for us.)
04.12.08, Alex, Florida, I heard about this jumper from his best friend. He wasn't told directly from the jumper but found out from his father. The details all are a little rusty and bizzare and I just was wondering if you had any additional information about this so things can be clarified...Everyone is saying he is dead.. Thanks in advanced (we will post whatever info we get on this or any other jump. we rely heavily on you the people to flood us with all the jumper news that's fit to print, plus more that's not.)
4.14.08, K. O'B., Sarasota, FL. USA, Guy Zupa jumped to his death on 4/11/08. He had left horrific text messages on his ex-girlfriends blackberry, and had also called his Mother who resides in Sarasota, FL. He was only 22 (the poor soul). Suicide is such a selfish act, and the loss is magnified to the ones left to ponder, If I only took the time to REALLY listen to what he was trying to say......Things would be different today. (we are sorry you lost your friend. try to not beat yourself up over this. he obviously had more on his plate than he could handle.)
04.14.08, W. L., sarasota, fl., The Jump was a good friend to all. "Guy" in a right mind would never do this. He must of gone up there over dispear, maybe even to scare some, and being intoxicated fell. Or maybe life was to much. Although very popular amoung peers, there was NOTHING on the news or anything. there has been talk of a funeral, but the dad does not want one. how selfish!!!!! RIP GUY ZUPA. you will always be here in our hearts. This should have never happeend. i was wish i was down there, to catch you when you fell. (as usual, the print news fall silent. sorry you lost your friend, we hope you cope.)
|03.27.08: jumper, 11:00am, female, hit water, lived
thank you, jumpnews reporters:
03.27.08, Rusty, St Pete., (03.27.08, 11:00am, female, hit water, lived), Florida Highway Patrol reported a female jumper and located the body at around 11:10AM. Info obtained from police scanner for Pinellas County and FHP website also.
03.27.08, Gilligan, St. Pete, FL., (03.27.08, 10am), Hearing alot of chatter from Coast Guard Sector St. Pete on the marine band radio this morning. There is a report of a person in the water west of the Skyway. They did not identify whether the individual was a male or female and gave no further description.
03.27.08, Leo, Tampa, FL., (03.27.08, 11:02am, female, no phones, hit water, lived), Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office report #08-187987. Reports of a w/f jumped from the northbound lanes just before the hump. Jumper recovered by Coast Guard and female was reported alive.
03.27.08, bradenton, fl., (03.27.08, 10am, female, hit water, lived), saw it on bradenton herald.com.... just happened this morning. she lived- 44 yr old woman was taken to hospital
03.27.08, Jill, Clearwater, (03.27.08, female, hit water, lived), Today in St Pete Times
03.27.08, Chris, (03.27.08, 10:00am), Saw numberous Law Enforcement Boats moving out by the Skyway. At the baitshop, there were numerous ambulances, fire trucks, and officers. One Fireman said that someone jumped. They didn't seem to be moving fast enough to make me think that the person lived.
any more info is welcome.
tampabays10.com, Traffic backed up on Skyway Bridge
Manatee County, Florida - Coast Guard, Pinellas Marine units, and Eckerd College Search and Rescue are at the Sunshine Skyway bridge where a woman reportedly jumped around 11 a.m.
Officials found the woman under the bridge, she is being taken to a nearby boat ramp where she will be transported to a local hospital.
It is unusual for someone to survive a jump from the bridge, but we are told she did not jump from the top portion.
03.27.08, bradenton.com, Jumper off Skyway is 44-year-old woman, HERALD STAFF REPORT
The person who jumped from the Sunshine Skyway Bridge this morning is a 44-year-old woman, St. Petersburg Fire & Rescue reported.
The woman leaped from the south end of the bridge - an approximate 20-foot fall into Tampa Bay - and was found face down in the water by officers on a Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission rescue boat.
She was revived and rushed to Bayfront Medical Center, and is in stable condition, accordiing to information released from Lt. Rick Feinberg of St. Petersburg Fire & Rescue.
The plunge off the bridge was made at 10:47 a.m. Officers on the boat, who pulled her out of the bay, reported she was disoriented.
Florida Highway Patrol Lt. Harold Frear said the woman was hospitalized in a secure unit under the Baker Act.
The woman's name and other information have not been released.
When first reports of the jump came to 911, the Manatee County Sheriff's Office responded. The spot of the jump was on the south end of the four-mile bridge, nearer to Terra Ceia Island than to St. Petersburg.
Subsequently, St. Petersburg Fire & Rescue took over the situation.
The highway patrol is handling the investigation of what caused her to jump, Feinberg said.
reader comments posted after the story:
-DonS., What an idiot. looking for attention. Obviously not wanting to die!
-Bev2827, I bet you she did this over some man threating him that she'd kill herself not trying to die but wanting him to pay her some attention, jumping dont keep men that makes them run and fast
03.27.08, tbo.com, Woman Survives Jump From Sunshine Skyway, By JOSH POLTILOVE of The Tampa Tribune, Published: March 27, 2008, Updated: 05:58 pm
TAMPA - A 44-year-old woman jumped from the lower portion of the Sunshine Skyway this morning, according to St. Petersburg Fire & Rescue.
She survived the 20-foot fall.
After the 10:47 a.m. incident, she was found facedown in the water by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission marine unit.
Veteran FWC Officer Terry Noll was driving on the Sunshine Skyway to a national security training exercise when he got a call from dispatch, said FWC spokesman Gary Morse. When Noll arrived at the scene, he spotted the woman waiving her arms for help.
Noll launched his boat, but by the time he got to the woman she was facedown in 58-degree water, experiencing hypothermia symptoms, Morse said. Noll turned the woman over and she gasped for air.
Just about the same time Noll arrived, a couple of students from the Eckerd College Search and Rescue Team showed up. They boarded the FWC boat and provided aid to the woman as Noll steered the boat to land, Morse said.
The woman, who was not identified, was taken to Bayfront Medical Center, a release states.(comments follow article.)
03.27.08, tampabay.com, Skyway jumper rescued from Tampa Bay, By Stephanie Garry and Curtis Krueger, Times Staff Writers, Published Thursday, March 27, 2008 9:26 PM
ST. PETERSBURG — Officer Terry Noll was cruising in his boat across the mouth of the Tampa Bay on Thursday morning, headed for training in St. Petersburg, when he got a call from dispatch.
A woman had jumped off the Sunshine Skyway bridge.
The veteran officer for the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission turned around and headed for the southern end of the Skyway, where a 44-year-old woman was floating in the chilly water. She had left her car in the shoulder and jumped about 20 feet into the water, authorities said.
She waved twice for help, then went facedown in the bay.
When Noll pulled her out, she was gasping for air.
Meanwhile, Ryan Dilkey, coordinator of Eckerd College Search and Rescue, had been scrambling to assemble a team of students.
About 10:45 a.m., he received a call from emergency workers that someone jumped off the bridge. Working from a list of volunteers trained for rescues, he found four students to help within 10 minutes. One stayed on shore to keep tabs on the situation and three accompanied him in a 26-foot boat.
Near the Skyway, two students boarded Noll's boat, where the woman was responsive but disoriented, Dilkey said.
The students, who are trained in emergency procedures, tended to her as Noll raced to O'Neill's Marina in St. Petersburg, said wildlife commission spokesman Gary Morse.
St. Petersburg Fire and Rescue paramedics took the woman to Bayfront Medical Center, where she was in stable condition.
The Florida Highway Patrol investigated the incident but declined to release her name.
Noll went on to his national security training, and Dilkey was relieved the situation turned out well. The Eckerd College group trains for all kinds of rescues. Because of the college's location, Skyway suicide attempts are inevitable.
"I'm glad to see one rescued," Dilkey said.
|03.26.08: possible jumper|
Hillsborough Sheriff, SUICIDE ATT-INPR 1 SKYWAY BG 0002 0202 2h0m
any more info is welcome.
|02.12.08: jumper, 8:00pm, male, hit
water, died, missing
Terry Stephens, 31
02.14.08, Bill E., Riverview, Fl., Looks like 2 reports from HCSO that day. First was at 15:37 when person jumped, 2nd was at 2042, Maybe when the body was found? (the first call goes just over 4 hours and ends almost a hour before the second one begins. it lasts 2.5 hours. we tend to believe it would be a new suicide call, being as the body recovery is the job of the coast guard and marine units on the water. we've never seen an instance where a new SUICIDE ATT service call was initiated for body recovery before. then again, who are we? they aren't telling us. thanks again for all your support.)
02.17.08, sarasota, (02.13.08, pm, male, died), A dear friend of mine told me her nephew jumped from the skyway bridge last Wednesday 2/13/2008. Terry is his name and I have not heard if he was found. Could you verify. (it appears the date of this jump was 02.12.08. please read on.)
02.18.08, Mary M., Sarasota, FL., (02.12.08, 8:00pm, male, hit water, died), The jumpers vehicle was seen at the top of the bridge and two eye witnesses saw him get out of the car and jump. It was dark and rainy so the Coast Guard did not look for him until the next day. After 24 hours the case was turned over to the Sheriff's Dept, so now we play a waiting game, My son's name was (is) Terry Stephens. He was 32 years old. Brown hair, blue eyes. He is about 5' 8", sd weights 150? I sm guessing since I haven't seen him in months due to his mental state. If you hear of anything, please E=msil me ASAP@@ I would geatly appreciate it and I know the rest of the famly woudl as well. He is considered MISSING!!!!!! Thsnks again, THE MOM (we are sorry for your loss. if anyone posts further news, we will pass it to you.)
any more info is welcome.
|02.12.08, Hillsborough Sheriff, SUICIDE ATT-INPR 1 SKYWAY BG 2043 2313|
02.23.08, HEARTBROKEN, ORLANDO, FL., Wondering if there is any news?????
(sorry, this is all we have at this time.)
03.08.08, j.b., if they would like to talk to someone, my son jumped a few years ago and was missing for a while. (we are sorry you lost your son. thank you for offering help to those left behind.)
03.09.08, Mary, Sarasota, I would like to talk to one of the other families that suffered a loss. My son died 2/12/08 after jumping and his body still has not been recovered. All of us are suffering and in such shock. What are the chances that they will never find him? How can we find closure without finding him? HELP!! (we passed your contact request to j.b. and we wish you closure in your time of hardship. perhaps discussion with others in your position will help you cope.)
03.13.08, tz, If they want to talk, my sister jumped 8/9/07 and is still missing. We had a memorial 12 weeks later and it helped our mom and us with some closure. My heart goes out to you & your family, we know the pain and there isn't a day that goes by that we're not thinking about our Helen. (we are sorry for your loss. we passed your email on to mary and j.b. and thank you for your concern.)
03.25.08, Heidi L., Orlando, Florida, Mary, I am so sorry about Terry. You, Anna and all your family are in my hearts every day not a day goes by that I do not think about Terry...... Heidi in Orlando.
03.25.08, Mary Mc., Sarasota, FL., My son's body still has not been found. I am asking that everyone out there on the water please help. Our family will never have closure until we find him and I know that the public can help. With all the boaters out there maybe they could keep an out an extra eye and if they find anything contact the Hillsborough Police Department. Thank you!!
03.25.08, Mary Mc., Sarasota, FL., My son, Terry Stephens, as I previously reported was the man that made the choice to end his life in such a tragic way on 2/12/08. Being a strong Christian is seeing me through this painful time, but I also want those that are suffering to feel free to contact me for support. I want to help you with your grief and maybe as a group we can do something about the bridge itself. I honestly feel there should be a fence high enough to discourge those that want to jump. Other than a few phones, there is nothing to stop them from jumping. I understand the Golden Gate Bridge has a high fence and is considering a net to catch them if they make it over TO jump. PLEASE, SOMETHING NEEDS TO BE DONE. THIS NEEDS TO STOP!!! My son left behind a 9 year old daughter that will never understand. He left behind an entire family that loves him, and always will, not to mention all of his friends that he has known for the 31 precious years he was with us. The tragedy of this is it will never end. The government will never take steps if we don't speak up!!!!
All it takes is one person to speak up and I am speaking up. I am asking all of you to do the same. Lets take a stand and try to put an end to this tragic way of ending ones life. I understand all about mental illness, but there are other ways of dealing with it. Suicide is never the answer.
Does anyone else agree that it is too easy on the Skyway Bridge? Does anyone else agree that there are no safety measures in place to stop the jumpers? Do you know which government agency I can contact to make our stories known? I am willing to go the distance if you are. (we address our opinions on barriers and nets here. again, we are sorry your son chose to end his life as he did. such a tragic way to leave those left behind.)
|02.12.08: possible jumper|
thank you, jumpnews reporters:
02.12.08, Bill E., Riverview Fl., (02.12.08, 3:33pm), Pinellas County Sheriff's Office show 'suicide suspect, unarmed, Sunshine Skyway" (we suppose having no arms could be suicidable.)
02.13.08, teresa m., largo, fl., (02.12.08, 3:30pm, male), was fishing just offshore by the southbound rest area on pinellas side when the rain started, first saw fire rescue then fire truck show up at rest stop, then at least a half dozen rescue and sheriff boats started heading for the skyway, fire truck went to top of skyway (southbound) and stopped there, decided to get closer to see activity but was bombarded by the storm moving in so we sought shelter under the bridge, while waiting out the storm the marine radio was reporting for all vessels in the area of the skyway to be on the lookout for a white male in his twenties that may be in the water in that area, I can tell you this if someone did jump it will probably be days before they are recovered the storm at the bridge was so dense that you could see nothing over 100 ft in front of you, I felt bad for the rescue personel who had to put their lives on the line searching for someone who care about their own, hope all made it home safe and God Bless them
any more info is welcome.
|02.12.08, Hillsborough Sheriff, SUICIDE ATT-INPR 1 SKYWAY BG 1537 1949 4h12m|
|02.03.08: possible jumper|
Hillsborough Sheriff, SUICIDE ATT-INPR 1 SKYWAY BG 1355 1510
any more info is welcome.
|01.18.08: possible jumper|
Hillsborough Sheriff, SUICIDE ATT-INPR 1 SKYWAY BG 0434 0524
any more info is welcome.
|dates and names unknown: Trooper Stops Two Jumpers|
flhsmv.gov, Twice in one night Trooper Roger Glasco thwarted suicide
attempts from the top of the Sunshine Skyway Bridge. Shortly after 4:00 AM
while on routine patrol of the bridge, Trooper Glasco saw an SUV parked at the
top. Thinking the vehicle was abandoned, he pulled his patrol car behind the
vehicle. Suddenly, the driver took off. Trooper Glasco pulled over the driver.
The female driver began to cry, explaining that she was going to jump off the
bridge. She pleaded for help. Trooper Glasco transported her to a local mental
health clinic to seek the professional help she needed.
Upon returning to the Sunshine Skyway Bridge to complete the remainder of his shift, Trooper Glasco saw a pickup truck parked on the top of the bridge. Nearby, a person was standing on the cement barrier wall. As Trooper Glasco approached, the person began to yell threats that he would jump. With back up on the way, Trooper Glasco was able to talk the man down from the barrier wall and away from the edge of the bridge. Trooper Glasco continued to talk to the man and offered to get him help. The man was also transported to the mental health clinic for necessary treatment.
Thanks to Trooper Glasco and FHP’s Suicide Prevention Patrol on the Sunshine Skyway Bridge, two more lives were saved.
any more info is welcome.
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