Woman falls from bridge near University


A woman in her 20s suffered “grave injuries” after jumping off the driving level of the Washington Avenue Bridge into the Mississippi River on Tuesday, said University Police Chief Greg Hestness.

About 3:15 p.m., a boater on the water hoisted the woman into the boat and took her to shore, where emergency personnel got her into an ambulance, Hestness said. Upon entering the ambulance, she was alive but unable to communicate, he said.

She was taken to Hennepin County Medical Center, said University Police Sgt. Brad Herberg.

Witnesses saw emergency crews hoist the woman onto the west bank of the river.

One witness, Meghann Ziler, a first-year University student, said the woman was lying on a stretcher with a sheet over her and the ambulance did not immediately leave.

University student Becky Stannard said the scene was “horrible.”

“I didn’t see her jump, but I saw her body in the river,” she said. “It seems so ironic that it happened on the first day of school.”

University police declined to discuss the incident in detail. Herberg said that because the woman jumped into the river, the jurisdiction lies with the Hennepin County Water Patrol.

Hestness said the Sheriff’s Department responded after the University’s police.

“Typically they do the water rescues and bring the boat in the lake, but in this case there happened to be a citizen who was on the water and willing to help immediately,” he said.

As of press time, the victim’s identity was not released.

“We hope to find out who she was to evaluate whether she had a University affiliation or not and if there’s any further impact on campus,” Hestness said.

The sheriff’s office will proceed with this investigation, because they handle most water emergencies, Hestness said.

There is no suspicion of foul play, he said.