I apologize ahead of time for writing about such a depressing topic. But it too is a part of living in Coronado and I always feel so sad for the victims and their family and friends…
Coronado Bridge is such a beautiful bridge. I love driving across and looking out over the bay. Either direction brings a beautiful vista – Coronado itself, Point Loma and the ocean to the west and Cowles Mountain and other ranges to the east.
But, the Coronado Bridge has a dark side. It is tragically a popular spot for suicide. In fact, it has the third highest number of suicides of any bridge in the country.
As of the beginning of December 2009, 236 people had died in suicidal falls from this two-mile-long stretch.
But you won’t hear about most of them in the news. You’ll hear about them in the grocery store line, on Twitter, from friends and neighbors. Or sometimes you will horrifyingly witness them yourself.
Such was the case last year as my husband and I were driving east on the bridge heading out of town for the week.
And such was the case yesterday when yet another desperate person plunged to their death after leaping over the side of the bridge.
Last year I frantically texted and twittered friends and acquaintances to find out if the person had by any miracle survived. I had a friend who had seen the young woman stop her car mid-span and thought it odd because there didn’t seem to be anything wrong with the car. She too was horrified to learn that the woman had jumped.
After a day and a half I learned from someone who talked to inside sources who wished to remain anonymous that the woman had died. I also learned that if a person jumps into the water and survives, the case comes under the jurisdiction of the Coronado or San Diego Police department depending on who responds and which side of the bridge the person is taken off. These cases appear in the news.
However, if a person jumps into the San Diego Bay and dies, the case comes under the jurisdiction of the San Diego Harbor Police. The Harbor Police have a strict non-disclosure rule about suicides and so these cases never appear in the news.
Kevin Caruso of Suicide.org says that in his interactions with people who have survived a jump from a bridge, their experiences are eerily similar.
Almost without exception — immediately after they jumped, they wanted to survive.
He goes on to say that over 90 percent of the people who die by suicide have a mental illness at the time of their death.
And because depression is the most common mental illness, untreated depression is the number one cause for suicide, and depression and other mental illnesses are highly treatable.
Some of the other “suicide bridges” around the country have erected barriers and others have approved future barriers. Back in the 1980’s when the suicide toll was the highest; most everyone backed a plan for a barrier on the Coronado Bridge. Everyone that is but Caltrans.
Do you think a barrier should be put up on the Coronado Bridge?