Luling bridge gaining negative notoriety as another person takes life with jump

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, August 28, 2013

By Kimberly Hopson

HAHNVILLE – Hale Boggs Bridge became the scene of another suicide on Friday, when a Destrehan woman dove off the side to take her own life.
Shortly before 7 p.m., the St. Charles Parish Sheriff’s Office received a report concerning a vehicle stopped in the emergency lane on top of the Luling Bridge. The witness stated that she observed a female exit the car, run to the railing, climb over and jump.
The body of Debbie Ridley Johnson, 55, of Destrehan was recovered with the assistance of the Coast Guard in the river near Ama.
The Coroner’s Office pronounced the time of death at about 9:15 p.m.
St. Charles Parish Sheriff Greg Champagne said people decide to take their lives for various reasons, and may not simply be a matter of depression. He went on to say that the jumping only happens in spurts, though suicide itself is a common occurence.
“People hear about a suicide when someone jumps off a bridge because it’s more of a public event. If it happens behind closed doors, then it doesn’t make the news. It’s happening since the bridge has been up, really,” said Champagne.
“A lot of people (that commit suicide) tend to be from outside St. Charles Parish. And it happens for various reasons: some people are terminally ill, some are depressed, others are addicted to drugs,” he continued.