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2018 jump events

updated: 01.10.18
we post everything we know.
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01.10.18: attorney blog - Increase in Skyway Suicides Bring Awareness to Liability Issues
01.10.18, usalaw.com, The Sunshine Skyway is one of the most impressive sights in Tampa Bay. Passing through the waters of Pinellas, Hillsborough, and Manatee counties, the bridge is 430 feet tall and spans four miles across. This makes it a perfect place to catch a stunning view of the breathtaking scenery and sparkling waters. Even Floridians who hate heights— and those who remember the horror of the original bridge’s collapse in 1980 - can probably admit that the bridge is part of our iconic landscape. At the very least, it is a convenient way to get across the bay.
But the Sunshine Skyway can also be a place of darkness. Last year, 13 people died by jumping off the bridge, making 2017 the worst year for bridge suicides since 2003. (worst year for jumper activity in general, since the bridge opened in 1954.)

Suicide in Tampa Bay and Beyond

In 2017, twelve people committed suicide by jumping from the Sunshine Skyway. A thirteenth death is unconfirmed. The victims include a 64-year-old man, a 55-year-old husband, and a 28-year-old man, potentially racked with guilt over his involvement in a fatal crash. Only five of the deaths were women. This is on par with national statistics, which report that men are 3.57 times more likely than women to die by suicide.
Across the nation, suicide is a major issue. It is the 10th leading cause of death, with 44,965 Americans dying every year. It affects people of all ages, genders, and races. But certain groups, like middle aged white men, LGBT+ youth, and people struggling with substance abuse, are more prone to suicide.

Lawsuit over Sunshine Skyway Death

As these statistics show, Tampa Bay is far from the only place in the United States with a suicide issue. But in the face of this recent rash of suicides, some Tampa Bay residents want to see changes. One victim’s widow is even taking legal action to draw attention to the topic of suicide in Tampa Bay. Two days before her husband jumped from the Sunshine Skyway in 2017, he was released from a local hospital. He had been committed by the Baker Act after a previous suicide attempt. His wife is now suing the hospital. She believes that it was negligent to release him so quickly, considering his previous attempt and mental state.
This case is unique. However, it’s not the first time a medical provider has been accused in a patient’s suicide. In 2008, a lawsuit over a Florida woman’s suicide was brought to the Florida Supreme Court. There, it was found that her doctor’s failure to see her, even after being informed that the patient had stopped taking her medications, played a role in her death.

Determining a Doctor’s Role

Determining negligence for a patient’s suicide can be a nuanced topic. But like in any other case involving a medical provider’s liability, there must be proof that:
• A doctor-patient relationship existed
• The medical professional violated the standard of care
• The patient suffered harm
• The violation directly caused the patient’s harm
Suicide is often a complex topic, and never an easy one. When a case involves trying to hold someone else, like a medical provider, liable for a loved one’s suicide, it becomes even more complex, although it is still important to seek justice, compensation, and answers. While 2017 might have been a bad year for Tampa Bay area suicides from the Sunshine Skyway, there is still hope that critical topics, like the role of medical providers in a patient’s suicide, will be addressed in 2018.
If you are struggling with suicidal thoughts or ideation or know someone who needs help, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.
(curious if a case could be made against an entity, that created a structure that is a known and accepted draw for suicides, then doing squat little in an attempt to stop them. #calltoaction more suicide prevention help.)

facebook incident posts
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01.09.18: article - Could netting prevent suicides on Sunshine Skyway Bridge?
01.09.18, wfla.com, PINELLAS COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) — Two of America’s iconic bridges, the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco and the George Washington Bridge in New York, are undergoing major changes.
Both projects include the addition of a unique netting to help prevent suicides. Safety netting is being added along the outer edges of both high-span bridges.
The changes have News Channel 8 wondering about the possibility of one day seeing safety netting added to the Sunshine Skyway Bridge, where three (correction: 13) people ended their lives by suicide in 2017 and 12 others committed suicide in 2016, according to The Florida Highway Patrol.
If there were to be any structural changes to the Skyway, they’d come through Florida’s Department of Transportation.
So, we reached out to FDOT to ask about the possibility.
The organization quickly responded and we learned a safety net concept is something the agency has reviewed before. “The safety of the traveling public on the state’s bridges is a top priority of the Florida Department of Transportation. The department has looked at a fencing system on the Sunshine Skyway Bridge in the past, however, FDOT has not found a system that would work and also allow inspection of the bridge.”
Adding more weight to each side of the bridge could possibly create instability for the mega structure.
One safety feature that’s helped save lives and has been in place for many years are the 24-hour emergency phones mounted at the top of each span.
Just by picking up one of those phones, that person will immediately be connected to a caring counselor at the Crisis Center of Tampa Bay. “If they’re having thoughts of suicide and they’re aware that a resource is available and they will not be judged and somebody will speak to them and care about them. It’s very successful,” says Ken Gibson with the Crisis Center of Tampa Bay. (if the suicidal uses the phone. most do not.)
If you, or anyone you know, is feeling desperate and just needs someone to talk to, simply dial 211. That will connect you to the Crisis Center of Tampa Bay’s full time staff of sincere and compassionate counselors.


(this barrier would work. it hinges for inspections and deters jumpers. #calltoaction)

facebook incident posts
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01.08.18: article - Skyway suicides may have hit 15-year-high
01.08.18, tbo.com/tampabay.com, By Jonathan Capriel, Times Staff Writer,
A few left their driver door open and motor running. One man pocketed his keys. Another wore a Superman T-shirt when he plunged nearly 200 feet into the mouth of Tampa Bay. One woman may have taken her dog with her. Another person wrote "sorry" and "time to go."
An average of once a month last year, people committed suicide by falling from the Sunshine Skyway bridge, and authorities are trying to determine whether a 13th person also died that way.
Not since 2003 have 13 people fallen to their deaths from the Skyway. In the years since then, at least 130 more followed, according to information provided by the Florida Highway Patrol and medical examiners offices in Hillsborough, Pinellas and Manatee counties.
The last man to drop in 2017 was William Robeysek, 64, the morning after Thanksgiving, his family said. Troopers found his car on the bridge. A boater found his body on the first Sunday of December on an island about 5 miles west of there. Dental records showed it was him, but authorities await test results.
"I miss him terribly," said Ashley Stevens, 65, his girlfriend of 13 years. "I have no idea why he would leave me."
Robeysek was unmarried, had no children and was recently placed on disability benefits. He didn’t leave a note.
• • •
Most last year did not leave notes. Those who did left many questions unanswered.
The first to fall in 2017 died a year ago Friday. David Prior, then 55, worked as an investment adviser and had two children and a wife. Debra Prior, 53, said she and her teenage daughter suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder and avoid the bridge.
Her husband left a note, but she still doesn’t know why he chose the Skyway.
"Maybe he thought it would be the fastest way to go," she said. "He used to jump out of planes in the army. He was a Green Beret Ranger."
Two days before he went off the Skyway, David Prior was released from St. Anthony’s Hospital, where he had been committed under the Baker Act after slitting his wrists, his wife said. She’s suing the hospital, alleging negligence.
Therapists have told Debra Prior not to attempt to figure out why he killed himself.
"We are never going to know what was in his mind," she said.
• • •
Most suicide is a solitary act, often by gunshot or strangulation, said Frederic Desmond, a professor of psychology at the University of Florida. Falling from a high platform is less common.
A public suicide attempt may be a last chance to reach out for human contact.
"It could also be a last-minute cry for help," he said. "They might hope that someone driving will stop them."
Clara Reynolds, CEO of the Crisis Center of Tampa Bay, avoids publicly discussing Skyway suicides because she doesn’t want to plant ideas in anyone’s head.
"We want to have open conversations about why people contemplate suicide and we need it to be more socially acceptable for people to reach out," she said.
The center gets thousands of calls each year from people contemplating suicide. A small percentage of suicides are from the Skyway, less than 3 percent in 2016.
Special phones installed on the bridge in 1996 (correction: 1999) connect directly to the Crisis Center, but in 2017, only "silent calls" came through. The people on the bridge did not speak.
"They might be trying to make a last-minute connection with someone," Reynolds said. "It could be that they want someone to know they are up there."
When someone uses one of those phones, the center’s staff alerts authorities. Officers stop at least five suicide attempts each year on the bridge. On Tuesday, a Pinellas deputy used his vehicle to pin a woman’s leg to the side of the concrete barrier, preventing her from throwing herself over. After he handcuffed her, she continued to say, "Let me jump, let me jump," the deputy said.
Five of the deaths in 2017 were women.
• • •
Experts say suicide doesn’t solve problems, and often hurts those left behind.
In May, Pinellas Park police charged Ryan Mogensen in the hit-and-run death of a motorcyclist, 61-year-old John Ryan.
In June, Mogensen pleaded not guilty, but the case never went to trial.
On a dark night in July, he leaped off the Skyway bridge. He was 28.
The Pinellas-Pasco State Attorney’s Office formally abandoned the case.
A medical examiner’s report describes a suicide note Mogensen posted on Facebook. He called himself a veteran and said he had been charged with a crime. He wrote that he loved his family and apologized to them.
When John Ryan’s wife, Rosamme Ryan, 54, found out that Mogensen had killed himself, she initially took solace in the idea that he could not hurt anyone else, she said. But in the months since police found his body, her attitude has shifted.
"That night, it felt like justice," she said. "But the further away I get from it, I realize I’m never going to face him. I can never ask him why he hit my husband."

Need help?
• Call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 to be connected to local crisis counselors.
• Reach out to trusted friends or family members and talk to them.
• Find a therapist or support group. A good starting point is to call 2-1-1.

(more suicide help links and services. seek them out and use them.)
2017 was not simply a 15 year high, but an all-time high, considering all the jumper activity, as compared to 2003.

2017: 13 suicides, 29 possible, 1 survivor, 4 saves
2003: 13 suicides, 1 possible, 4 saves

facebook incident posts
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01.02.18: jumper save, female, 11:50pm
unknown, 50
01.02.18, pcsoweb.com,


pcsoweb.com, 18-002 Pinellas Sheriff’s Deputy Saves Woman From Jumping Off Sunshine Skyway Bridge - Deputy Heroism
Who:
Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office
Patrol Operations Bureau
50 -year-old white female (Lives in Tampa, name withheld)
Deputy Damon Laney
Hire Date: 02/10/2012
Age: 37
What:
A Pinellas County Sheriff’s deputy pulled a woman off the ledge of the Sunshine Skyway Bridge, likely saving her life.
When:
The incident occurred about 11:50 p.m. on Tuesday, January 2, 2018.
Where:
The incident occurred at the top span of the Sunshine Skyway Bridge located at I-275, in Hillsborough County.
Why/How:
According to deputies, Deputy Damon Laney was driving to an off duty work detail, northbound across the top span of the Sunshine Skyway Bridge at about 11:50 p.m. on Tuesday, January 2, 2018.
Deputy Laney noticed a car parked on the roadway along the side of the bridge with its hazards on. Deputy Laney turned on his emergency lights and started to pull behind the vehicle. The driver, a 50-year-old Tampa woman exited the vehicle and ran towards the outside barrier wall of the bridge. As she attempted to climb over the wall and jump, Deputy Laney having no time to exit his vehicle, used his vehicle to trap her legs between the push bumper and the wall. When Deputy Laney exited his vehicle, the woman freed herself and was completely over the wall with the exception of one arm. Deputy Laney grabbed her by the waist and pulled her back over the wall where she continued to struggle until being handcuffed.
She was not injured during the incident.
Deputy Laney detained the woman while she cried and said, “just, let me jump.”
The woman later informed Deputy Laney she was upset over personal issues.
Deputies took the woman into protective custody under the Baker Act.
Deputy Laney is currently assigned to the Patrol Operations DUI Unit, he has been with the agency for 5 years.

any more info is welcome.
01.02.18, IONTBfb/iontb.com, Skyway: Pinellas Deputy detains female after a brief scuffle atop the northbound lanes of the Skyway Bridge. Watch for delays in the area. later: Appear deputy pulled up to a car stopped on bridge. Most likely with suicidal intentions. Investigation underway.
comments:

   Kyle D., I passed by before the police arrived. She was visibly upset and pacing outside her car and peering over the edge at the top of the span with no emergency signals. She resisted because she wanted to be where she was.
   Keith M., Holy hell I passed this woman's car on my way home before deputies got there. It was a small red car.

01.03.18, iontb.com, Pinellas Sheriff’s Deputy Saves Woman From Jumping Off Sunshine Skyway Bridge
Pinellas Deputy Damon Laney grabbed a 50 year-old suicidal woman as she attempted to jump from the Sunshine Skyway Bridge late last evening.
According to deputies, Deputy Damon Laney was driving to an off duty work detail, northbound across the top span of the Sunshine Skyway Bridge at about 11:50 p.m. on Tuesday, January 2, 2018.
Deputy Laney noticed a car parked on the roadway along the side of the bridge with its hazards on. Deputy Laney turned on his emergency lights and started to pull behind the vehicle.
The driver, a 50-year-old Tampa woman exited the vehicle and ran towards the outside barrier wall of the bridge. As she attempted to climb over the wall and jump, Deputy Laney having no time to exit his vehicle, used his vehicle to trap her legs between the push bumper and the wall.
When Deputy Laney exited his vehicle, the woman freed herself and was completely over the wall with the exception of one arm. Deputy Laney grabbed her by the waist and pulled her back over the wall where she continued to struggle until being handcuffed.
She was not injured during the incident.
Deputy Laney detained the woman while she cried and said, “just, let me jump.”
The woman later informed Deputy Laney she was upset over personal issues.
Deputies took the woman into protective custody under the Baker Act.
The 37 year-old deputy is currently assigned to the Patrol Operations DUI Unit and has been with the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office for 5 years. (article includes police scanner audio.)

01.03.18, wtsp.com, PINELLAS COUNTY, Fla. - A deputy is being regarded as a hero after rescuing a woman just seconds before she attempted to jump from the Sunshine Skyway Bridge.
According to the Pinellas County Sheriff's Office, the incident happened around noon Tuesday afternoon.
37-year-old Deputy Damon Laney was driving while he was off-duty when he noticed a car that was pulled along the northbound lanes on the Sunshine Skyway bridge at I-275 with their hazards on.
Laney started to pull his car behind the vehicle with his emergency lights on when he saw a 50-year-old woman get out of the car and run towards the barrier wall of the bridge.
Having no time to leave his car, Laney quickly sprung into action and used his car to trap the woman's legs between the bumper of the car and the barrier wall.
The woman found a way to free herself before he could get out of his car and started to jump over the wall. Laney was able to grab the woman by her waist and pull her back over the barrier, where she continued to struggle against him, crying, "Just let me jump."
Thankfully, the woman was not harmed in the incident and she later told the deputy she had been upset about personal issues. She was placed under the Baker Act and put into protective custody.
Deputy Laney has been working in the sheriff's office since 2012 and is currently assigned to the Patrol Operations DUI Unit.
MORE: Suicide and the dark side of the Sunshine Skyway Bridge
According to the Florida Highway Patrol, the Skyway is the number one bridge for suicide on the East Coast. In 2016, there were 12 suicides, 24 possible suicides, 6 saves, and 1 survivor. There have been 100 suicides in the last decade.
MORE: The skywaybridge.com website is dedicated to reporting on, educating and ideally stopping jumpers. (well look at that. thanks, wtsp.com, yes we are.)

facebook incident posts
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hoping 2018 brings you all the success and happiness you work hard for.
   if you are having trouble dealing with life and everything that comes with it, make the effort to find and use the help that is available to you. life is indeed worth living.
 
   remember, you are responsible for your own well being. love who you are and who you can be. always maintain an effort to improve upon yourself and allow no one to affect that. rid yourself of those that hold you back, no matter who they are. be they stranger, friend, or even family, lose the destructive forces tearing you down. better yourself. become stronger in body and mind. by all means, talk to people that can help you.

   do keep an eye on your friends and family members that may be despondent and depressed. a few kind words and a helping hand may be all it takes to send them down a better path. be well.
 
   according to all that we know from years of accumulating skyway jumper data, 2017 was the worst year for skyway jumping in the history of the bridge. sure, people talk about doing something about it, but more nothing gets done. let's hope 2018 is a better year for all concerned.
#calltoaction
 
 twenty years of this
 

2018 activity  •  2017  •  2016  •  2015  •  2014
2013  •  2012  •  2011  •  2010  •  2009  •  2008
2007  •  2006  •  2005  •  2004  •  2003  •  2002
2001  •  2000  •  1999  •  1998  •  1997-1954
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