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EAST LIVERPOOL Sheriff's office investigates East Liverpool bridge jumper



Published: Thu, June 14, 2001 @ 12:00 a.m.



The man survived the jump with only scrapes and bruises.

EAST LIVERPOOL -- East Liverpool City Hospital is not releasing any information about a man who survived after jumping off the Newell Toll Bridge over the Ohio River.

East Liverpool Fire Department has identified the man as John Wright of Newell, W.Va. Hancock County (W.Va.) Sheriff's Department is investigating because the river is in West Virginia.

Fred Miller, hospital community relations director, said hospital policy prohibits release of information about patients under psychological evaluation or treatment.

Assistant Fire Chief Gary Cornell said firefighters and police pulled Wright, who was intoxicated, from the water about 150 feet from the Ohio shoreline about 2:30 p.m. Tuesday.

Cornell said a passer-by saw Wright in the water and called East Liverpool police. He said people swim in the river, but usually from a boat, so someone in the water with no boat in sight draws attention.

He said Wright told firefighters he had friends stop their car on the bridge, he climbed out onto the pedestrian walkway, then jumped. He said he was afraid of heights and wanted to see if he could make the jump, Cornell said.

The rescue: According to Cornell, firefighters were waiting on Chester Fire Department volunteers to respond with equipment, but Wright was tiring and in distress. Assistant Chief Bill Jones and firefighter Jeff Boyd swam out to rescue Wright, and the rescue took about 15 minutes, Cornell said. Other firefighters and police helped pull the three closer to the shore, he said.

He said since there was no landing area near the bridge, police stopped a passing boat to transport Wright about a mile upriver to a public wharf and a waiting ambulance.

Cornell said Wright was fortunate to sustain only scrapes and bruises. The bridge is about 70 feet above the water and the river is about 30 feet deep where Wright jumped, he said.




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