thrill jumper, lived, paralyzed
Joey Johnston Jr., 15
07.09.18, Henry m., Tampa, FL., I have had multiple people inform me that a friend of mine, Joey Johnston jr (15 years old) has jumped off a lower part of the skyway bridge (not a suicide attempt) and broke his neck and back and is currently hospitalized
07.09.18, My mistake, I meant 07/08/18 Joey jumped off the skyway bridge yesterday and is currently in all children's hospital and is paralyzlyzed from the he armpits down but in stable condition.
07.09.18, you're sure it was the skyway? we're not finding any mention of the bridge.
07.09.18, Yes, he had planned to jump off prior and specifically mentioned the skyway bridge on his Snapchat story on the 7th. he's done things like this before (climbing cranes, telephone towers, standing on tops of tall buildings etc.) sadly me and everyone who saw the message failed to report it.
07.09.18, got a notice he jumped from the pinellas bayway.
07.09.18, Possible, I'll notify you if I get any other helpful information regarding the incedent.
07.10.18, IONTBfb/iontb.com, Tampa Teen Seriously Injured Jumping From Pinellas Bayway Bridge.
A Westchase teen, 15 year-old Joey Johnston Jr., was seriously injured after jumping off the Pinellas Bayway Bridge at approximately 6:15 p.m. on Sunday, July 8, 2018.
The approximately 65 foot high bridge is located along the Pinellas Bayway that connects the mainland with St. Pete Beach, just east of the Don CeSar Hotel.
It is reported that the teen jumped from the bridge, attempted a flip, and landed awkwardly on his back as he entered the water.
The injured teen, along with a 16 year-old friend, were retrieved from the water by a TowBoatUS vessel and transported to awaiting fire rescue crews.
Johnston Jr. was then rushed by ambulance to Bayfront Health St. Petersburg. He has since been transferred to Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital with reported paralysis associated with a spinal cord injury.
Many agencies responded to this incident including the Marine Unit from the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office, Sunstar Paramedics, Lealman Fire District, and St. Petersburg Fire Rescue.
The boy’s father, Joey Johnston, worked locally for decades as a sports reporter for Tampa Bay newspapers. In 2017, he was signed as a sideline reporter on gameday for the USF Football radio broadcast.
It is not uncommon for IONTB to receive reports about teens and young adults jumping from numerous bridges throughout the County for thrill seeking purposes. Its increased popularity, may in part be influenced by others that have posted similar acts on social media. Many of these videos have recently surfaced on YouTube. (for example)
07.23.18, wfla.com, Rays player hits grand slam, visits teen injured in bridge jump.
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (WFLA) - Fifteen-year old Joey Johnston Jr. decided to leap off the Pinellas Bayway Bridge with friends, and it didn't end well.
"We were jumping off the side on a smaller part just having fun and everything was great, and we decided to step it up and go to the very middle," Johnston told WFLA.
Johnston is sharing his story with hopes of preventing at least one person from making the same mistake.
"It’s not a joke and these videos that kids see, inspire them to want to go out and do them themselves, but they don’t realize the dangers and the risks of it," Johnston said.
Johnston did a flip from the highest point, which is 65 feet above the water.
"I did a back flip and completely over rotated it and landed just right on my back on the water. From that height, it’s like hitting concrete. As soon as I hit the water, I was motionless, like, I couldn’t move," Johnston said.
"I started sinking and my friend Danny quickly swam down and grabbed me and he kept me up. I told him just keep me up so I can breathe and he kept me afloat."
Johnston has been at Johns Hopkins All Children's Hospital since the accident about two weeks ago. He has a severe spinal injury.
While he focuses on getting better and being able to walk again, Johnston is getting some Major League support.
On Sunday, Tampa Bay Rays player Daniel Robertson stopped by to cheer him on right after hitting a walk off grand slam.
"Bottom of ninth Daniel Robertson hit a walk off grand slam and then an hour later, the next thing I know, he shows up in the room. I told him, 'Hey, we just saw your grand slam.' He said, 'I did it for you bud,'" Johnston said.
"That was incredible, just knowing that he was there to support me and tell me, 'you can do this,' it was just a great surprise for me."
Robertson said he met Johnston's father, Joey Senior, who writes a sports column. When he heard what happened, he knew he wanted to stop by to show his support.
"He was in good spirits. He was laughing. He told me about what happened and how he learned from it. I wanted to help encourage him," Robertson told WFLA.
Johnston still has a long road ahead, and will likely soon transfer to an out of state spinal injury facility.
facebook/prayers for joey • gofundme/joey's recovery
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