Man survives jump from Westmoreland Bridge

The eastbound lanes of I-526 were backed up this morning after a man abandoned a pickup truck at the top of the bridge and jumped. He survived, police say. By Andrew Knapp/Staff

A man survived this morning after he jumped from the Westmoreland Bridge, according to the Charleston Police Department.

Charleston police officers, Harbor Patrol personnel, Coast Guardsmen and paramedics responded to the bridge just before 8:30 a.m. Officers already were on scene after a report about a man with mental or emotional problems.

Witnesses said the man had been sitting on the concrete wall along eastbound Interstate 526 when he tumbled off.

“He was just sitting on the edge,” said Tarrell Zellous, who was driving over the bridge toward North Charleston. “He had his legs crossed and his hands crossed. Then I just saw his feet in the air, and he fell into the water.”

Officers jumped into a fishing boat that was preparing to depart the nearby RiversEdge Marina and were escorted to the man, who was floating in the Ashley River about 20 yards south of the bridge. He was rescued and was not seriously injured, Charleston police spokesman Charles Francis said.

The man’s Ford pickup had been abandoned atop the Westmoreland Bridge. Traffic had backed up on eastbound I-526 to the Paul Cantrell Boulevard interchange in West Ashley.

Reach Andrew Knapp at 937-5414 or twitter.com/offlede.

Andrew Knapp is editor of the quick response team, which covers crime, courts and breaking news. He previously worked as a reporter and copy editor at Florida Today, Newsday and Bangor (Maine) Daily News. He enjoys golf, weather and fatherhood.