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January 29, 2015

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Hoover Dam bypass bridge used again for leap to death


Justin M. Bowen

A view of Hoover Dam from the pedestrian walkway on the Mike O’Callaghan-Pat Tillman Memorial Bridge is shown Thursday, October 14, 2010, during the bridge’s dedication.

Map of Mike O’Callaghan-Pat Tillman Memorial Bridge

Mike O’Callaghan-Pat Tillman Memorial Bridge

Boulder City

A woman jumped 900 feet to her death from the Hoover Dam bypass bridge shortly before noon Monday, according to Metro Police.

Metro Police were called to the Mike O'Callaghan-Pat Tillman Memorial Bridge after a man witnessed a woman jump off the bridge's pedestrian walkway at 11:59 a.m., said Metro spokesman Marcus Martin.

The witness described the woman as wearing a turquoise shirt and khaki pants, Martin said. About 30 minutes after the call came in, a woman's body was found in the water near the base of Portal Road, Martin said.

Metro Police and the Hoover Dam Police are now conducting a suicide investigation, Martin said.

The Clark County coroner was en route to the scene at 1:30 p.m., Martin said. The coroner's office will release the woman's name, cause and manner of death after her next-of-kin are notified.

The woman is the fourth person to jump from the bridge, which opened in October 2010. The last suicide on the bridge occurred 11 days ago.

In April, Patricia Oakley, a 60-year-old San Jose, Calif., resident was the first to commit suicide by jumping off the bridge.

The following month, a young Arizona man jumped to his death.

On July 12, a Jacob Gerard Foreman, a 39-year-old North Las Vegas man, leapt to his death after Hoover Dam Police and Metro Police spent about two hours trying to dissuade Foreman from committing suicide.

The 1,900-foot-long bypass bridge – which spans Black Canyon – is downstream of the Hoover Dam. It is the country's second-highest bridge.

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  1. The taking of one's own life is the ultimate expression of liberty by a rational person. I will not question what motives a person has for doing so as long as others are not taken with them.

  2. Really is to bad that some feel they have to do something like this rather then deal with life.

    Blaming the design of the bridge is like blaming the bullet someone puts in their own head.

    Some will always look for fault except where fault lies

  3. I don't buy all this talk about building higher railings, put nets around, whatever.

    The bridge was built to cut the horrible waiting time, especially during holidays, of trying to go between Nevada and Arizona.

    If this bridge was built to accomodate suicides, there would have been railings, springboards, diving boards, and directions to make it easier.

    Of course this is not the case at all.

    About the only thing you can do is post suicide watch instructions, self-help signs, and instruct people on what to watch for to help in prevention. Other than that, you ain't gonna stop it.

    I don't mean to sound heartless, but I'm trying to make a point that this bridge was built to fill a need for faster travel times between States, not predominantly for people to take their lives by jumping off of it.

    I myself don't dwell on this issue at all. Because I can't control it.

    You build it, some will jump off of it. But most will enjoy it and use it properly. Just one of them things.

  4. It is sad when someone chooses to take their own life ... however it could be worse, they could choose to go to a theater and kill a bunch of innocent people with the intent of suicide-by-cop.

  5. @boftx - While I might be tempted to agree with you in theory, I really don't think that there are very many, if any, rational-suicidal people jumping off the Hoover Dam bypass bridge. There are far more easier, not to mention less-messy, ways of doing one's-self in.

    Wouldn't it make more sense for a rational person to choose/use one of the easier methods of self-elimination?

  6. Test_Guy,

    One would think so, but who are we to judge? Without going into detail, I can see where this might be the most accessible and irreversible method available to someone determined to follow through on the desire.

    In any event, I won't condemn someone for doing this, nor would I take steps to prevent people from doing what they think is best for themselves, whether it is or not, since it is impossible and immoral (imo) to stop one who is truly determined.

  7. It took 50 years to make this bridge & a minute and an half to jump from the same bridge to the bottom. When the media pointed out that people could jump off said bridge, some people took the challenge. So don't blame the people that helped thin out the population.

  8. "The taking of one's own life is the ultimate expression of liberty by a rational person."

    I think that sums-up the Right-Wing mental illness perfectly.

  9. stephenrblv,

    You might disagree with what I said earlier, but that statement can also be used to justify life without parole instead of the death penalty.

    Think about it.

  10. Course I disagree with your statement because it is total nonsense. Killing oneself is not rational.

    The Death Mentality is so fundamental to Conservatives you cannot even see it anymore. The Mental Cancer is very far advanced.

    Life is too precious to simply spew such nonsense like you did as if it was an argument. It isn't. It is bs.

  11. No, stephenrblv, it is the *quality* of life that is so precious. Life in and by itself is meaningless without some external purpose.

  12. I am reminded of a boy who once lived in our neighborhood. One who had down syndrome. His only purpose one could conclude was saying hi to all he met. He would walk around stopping to simply say hi, nothing more. "Hi I am alive and so are you, glad to met you". The same greeting came each time as if he had never met you before because it didn't matter.

    It was enough, it was complete utter perfection.

  13. If that boy found purpose by saying "hi" to others, and quite possibly bringing a bit of joy into their lives, and he was happy to have done that, then that is an excellent external purpose in my book. Quality of life is what is perceived by the person living it.

    As for the the movie you are watching, that is an entirely different topic that is not appropriate or germane to this particular discussion. Remember, I specifically said that such action as was taken should not take others with them.

  14. How long was the bridge opened before anyone took their life by jumping off of it? I have a feeling that as long as it's "advertised" in news stories as a place to take your life, it will continue to attract those who can't see another solution. I know that isn't the intention of an article such as this, but these stories make it seem so easy. This woman jumped and if it wasn't for an eyewitness, who knows when she would have been found? It doesn't seem like anyone tried to stop her.

    The fault lies not in the bridge design, there are plenty of high places in LV, but maybe in the perceived ease of committing death-by-bridge. Maybe if there was more security (or at least perceived security) people who are on that thin line would think twice before jumping.

  15. Even if it's someone's choice to kill themselves we dont have to enable it on a public bridge and cause unnecessary life threatening work for others to retrieve the body. Time for Nevada and Arizona to put up some higher borders for safety and prevention.

    And yes, monkey see monkey do with these people jumping. Time to do something about it.

  16. Comment removed by moderator. - -

  17. Jeff, that is your personal opinion. which everyone is entitled to.

  18. boftx I think we part ways because I do not believe life exists in a vacuum. All of one's actions touch others. We may not always recognize as much but they do.

    The Movie is relevant since it shows just how detached most people are. How controlled by Fear this Society is. How self-centered and uncaring most are. All of it done because we live with an economic model which demands these dysfunctional behaviors so a handful of the sickest can profit.

    Suicide is the ultimate selfish exercise. Isolation is the biggest factor with suicide. Suicide is not a celebration. It is not Liberty. It is about self abuse to the extreme measure. Brought on because one has disconnect themselves with what life ultimately is about, community. Not self, not individual Liberty, but shared experience with others.

  19. It's a high-profile bridge, and that is the only reason you hear about these incidents over the hundreds of others that happen every day. You cannot save someone from themselves.

  20. Jeff,

    I will agree with you that in some (many, most?) cases suicide can be considered as the coward's way out. But I will not grant that such is always the case.

    With regard to my original statement, I submit for your consideration that there are many in prison serving a life sentence without parole who would choose suicide if it were available to them in a respectful manner. As it stands now, prisons do everything possible to keep a person from hurting themselves, only so that person can continue to live under circumstances they find intolerable.

    A free person has no such constraints placed upon them.

  21. If a person is intent on suicide, then there is no way to stop them. But many people who kill themselves are suffering a mental health crisis brought on by a difficult life circumstance or they just need to be on psych meds. For these people, they are often so depressed they don't have the energy to seek out different methods of suicide. But if they see a way that is readily available to them, that can make their decision easier. I don't know what the answer is but anyone who thinks these suicides are unpreventable is just wrong.

  22. Jeff,

    In truth, I can't remember the last time I had a vacation. :)