Man Jumps from Bridge into Mississippi River in Apparent Stunt Could Face Charges

Updated: 05/08/2014 9:34 PM
Created: 05/08/2014 12:57 PM
By: Naomi Pescovitz

A man who jumped from a Brooklyn Park bridge into the Mississippi River on Wednesday night in an apparent stunt could face charges, the Hennepin County Sheriff's Office says.

The sheriff's office was called around 8:35 p.m. Wednesday on a report that a man jumped off the 610 West River Road Bridge. The sheriff's office, Brooklyn Park Police, Brooklyn Park Fire, Fridley Fire, Coon Rapids Fire, the Department of Natural Resources, and the Minnesota State Patrol responded.

"Those first responders are real people. They have real families and real lives. And their real safety was jeopardized last night," said Hennepin County Sheriff Rich Stanek.

The man was apparently wearing a life jacket at the time and swam to shore, and shortly after the video was posted to social media sites, the sheriff's office said.

"People that need to be rescued, we're happy to do it. This is what we do and train for as a living. But when it's not necessary and it's nothing more than some type of stunt, that's a little different," Stanek said.

Both the man who jumped from the bridge and the person who recorded it could be charged.

"If being stupid was against the law, well, this might qualify for that very thing," Stanek said.

The sheriff's office would not confirm that the stunt was part of the "Cold Water Challenge" on social media. Thousands have jumped into cold water for charity and then posted the video online.

In Duluth, both the Army Corps of Engineers and the Coast Guard have warned against the challenge.

On Monday, a Corps employee stopped a college age student from jumping off the Duluth piers and into the Duluth Ship Canal. The student said she was taking the "Cold Water Challenge for Cancer."

The Corps says the employee may have saved the woman's life. Had she jumped they say she may have encountered the gasp reflex, when the shock of the cold water causes someone to take water into his or her lungs. A person can then drown.

Crews search the Mississippi River Wednesday night.
Photo: KSTP/File

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