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Maplewood man jumped from I-94 bridge, sheriff's office reports

Emergency responders from both sides of the St. Croix River converge on Beanie's Resort on the Minnesota side. The boat landing was the base for the operation to recover the body of a person believed to have leaped into the river from the I-94 bridge in the background. (Hudson Star-Observer photo by Randy Hanson)1 / 5
An airboat from a Minnesota law enforcement agency carries divers to open water beneath the Interstate 94 bridge, where they were prepared to look for the body of a person believed to have jumped from the bridge. (Hudson Star-Observer photo by Randy Hanson)2 / 5
Eastbound traffic on the I-94 bridge over the St. Croix River slows to a crawl as emergency personnel respond to a report that a person had jumped from the bridge. The report came in at around 2:30 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 31. (Hudson Star-Observer photo by Randy Hanson)3 / 5
A tow truck operator prepares to haul a Jeep SUV with Minnesota license plates from the eastbound I-94 bridge over the St. Croix River. About an hour earlier, a person was reported to have jumped from the eastbound bridge. (Hudson Star-Observer photo by Randy Hanson)4 / 5
This traffic camera from the Wisconsin side shows emergency vehicles on the east-bound lane I-94 bridge. Open water is visible on the left side of the bridge.5 / 5

The Washington County, Minn., 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.

Commander 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 emergency services, including the Hudson Fire Department and the St. Croix EMS Dive Team.

The temperature was in the single digits below zero, making the rescue and recovery effort brutal for the emergency responders.

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.

(715) 426-1066
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