Second person in a week jumps from Hale Boggs Bridge

Published 8:08 am Saturday, October 6, 2012



LULING – Just five days after a Kenner man jumped to his death from the Hale Boggs Bridge, St. Charles Parish sheriff’s deputies say they are investigating another bridge jumper.

Passing motorists called sheriff’s deputies around 9:30 a.m. Wednesday, saying they witnessed someone jump from the northbound side of the Luling bridge. Sgt. Dwayne LaGrange, spokesman for the Sheriff’s Office, said drivers in the southbound lanes saw a vehicle parked on the shoulder of the northbound lane and reported seeing a man leave the vehicle and jump over the bridge railing without hesitation.

LaGrange said Friday that sheriff’s deputies and U.S. Coast Guard divers were still searching the Mississippi River near the bridge for the man. He said authorities were still trying to determine the man’s identity based on the license plates on the silver Nissan 350Z the man was driving.

The northbound lane of the bridge was shut down temporarily as emergency units responded. The incident is still under investigation.

On Friday, 53-year-old Pedro Paez of Kenner jumped to his death from the southbound side of the bridge.

Authorities said Paez, who was in a wheelchair, was seen getting out of his van, which was parked on the shoulder. When a deputy stopped to offer assistance, Paez pulled himself up onto the rail on the side of the bridge. Deputies spoke to Paez for several minutes before he indicated that he was recently diagnosed with a terminal illness and could not stand the pain. At that point, Paez let go of the rail and fell into the river below.

A tugboat crew that was working in the area recovered his body.