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UPDATE: I-94 bridge jumper ID'd as Maplewood man

Rescue teams gathered Tuesday on the river banks at Hudson following a report of a jumper on the Interstate 94 bridge. RiverTown photo by Randy Hanson

The Washington County Sheriff’s Office has confirmed that a 38-year-old Maplewood, Minn., man jumped to his death from the Interstate 94 bridge over the St. Croix River on the afternoon of New Year’s Eve.

Cmdr. Jerry Cusick of the sheriff’s office said the effort to recover the man’s body is still under way, and will intensify when the weather warms.

Cusick said a side-scan sonar and a remote-operated vehicle would be dropped into the water in the area where the man jumped from the bridge. A side scan finds things by sending out a sonar beam that reflects off any object lying on the river bottom, and transmits an image to a topside screen.

Cusick didn’t identify the man, but said his family is aware of what happened.

Passing motorists saw the man preparing to jump and notified authorities. He parked his Jeep SUV on the shoulder of the eastbound bridge before climbing onto the wall and jumping from the south side. There is a channel of open water below where he jumped, which is closest to the Minnesota side of the river.

Washington County authorities received the first call about the suicide at 2:23 p.m., according to another media report.

The call brought a big response from multiple Minnesota and Wisconsin emergencies services, including the Hudson Fire Department and the St. Croix EMS Dive Team.

The temperature was around -10 degrees F, making the rescue and recovery effort brutal for the emergency responders.

There is a channel of open water beneath the portion of the bridge where authorities were stationed during the response. About an hour into the effort, a tow truck hauled away a Jeep SUV with Minnesota license plates from the spot where the person was reported to have been seen preparing to jump.

The Lower St. Croix Valley Fire Department at Lakeland, Minn., as well as rescue teams from Stillwater, Bayport, Mahtomedi, Scandia and Hudson were involved in the effort. A number of the units sent divers.

Randy Hanson

Randy Hanson has reported for the Star-Observer since 1997. He came to Hudson after 11 years with the Inter-County Leader at Frederic, and eight years of teaching social studies. He’s a graduate of UW-Eau Claire.

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