Army Corp of Engineers to evaluate Roth Bridge design after fatal fall

By Amy Cherry 9:31am, November 5, 2013 - Updated 12:00pm, November 6, 2013
(Photo courtesy of NBC 10)
After a man accidentally fell to his death from the Roth Bridge, officials are evaluating the bridge's design.

WDEL's Amy Cherry reports.

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Police say 26-year-old DeKeevis Johnson of Wilmington was driving on the south side of the Roth Bridge when his car broke down.

He called a tow truck and a friend. The friend got there first and as they tried to circle back to the scene, they spotted the two truck.

What happened next, Corporal John Day with state police says, is unfortunate.

"His friend stopped the vehicle, and the victim exited, and he tried to jump from the northbound lanes to the southbound lanes in order to get to his vehicle, but he was unsuccessful and fell," says Day.

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Johnson fell to his death. Day says the span between the two sides of the bridge is more than 10-feet, calling it a "large jump." It's unclear why Johnson thought he could jump.

"We don't know what was going through his mind, but it was still early in the morning, it was still dark out, so we don't know if he comprehended how far of a jump it actually was," Day says.

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Day says if Johnson had just gone down a bit further he could have found a safer way to get across the bridge.

"In the center of the bridge, the part that's over the water, the northbound and the southbound lanes are connected; there's a solid surface between the two," he says.

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But of course, the safest thing to do would have been to...

"Just go to the next exit and turn around," recommended Day.

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State Police say their investigation is ongoing, but they don't suspect foul play.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers plans to visit Roth Bridge Wednesday to make recommendations about what can be done to prevent a similar tragedy in the future.

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