Police confirmed Friday a woman jumped off the top of the Gov. Thomas Johnson Bridge around mid-afternoon. Maryland State Police, who is handling the investigation, reported Tuesday morning the woman was in stable condition and expected to survive.
Tfc. Barlow responded to the scene, where the woman was rescued by two citizens boating nearby and transported to Prince George’s Hospital Center Shock Trauma, a release states.
The bridge, which connects Solomons and St. Mary’s County, is 140 feet above the Patuxent River at its highest point, where the water below is more than 100 feet deep.
Lusby resident Travis Phifer said in an email to The Calvert Recorder and The Enterprise newspapers that he witnessed the woman’s jump, and said she was floating for “about 45 seconds” before a boat reportedly arrived.
“I was right on top and she jumped over about 5 seconds before I got out of my vehicle,” Phifer wrote. In a phone interview later Friday afternoon, Phifer shared more about the incident, which he called “intense.”
Driving northbound, he initially thought the stopped cars on the bridge were just a routine bridge traffic jam — until he saw and heard the commotion. Someone shouted, “She just jumped over!” and he rushed to the edge, Phifer said. “You could tell she was unconscious,” he recalled, but said police and the nearby boaters were on scene in under a minute, administering to the woman and carrying her by boat to the Solomons boat ramp.
Police have not yet confirmed whether the woman walked or drove onto the bridge, but Phifer said traffic started moving right away and he didn’t see any abandoned cars.
Although police also have not said whether the jump was an act of attempted suicide, Phifer said his takeaway from the incident is to show more kindness toward others.
“I thought my day was kind of bad ... things were slow, and I was getting frustrated,” he said. “And that just put a whole new perspective on things. You don’t know what other people are going through.”
Since the bridge opened in December 1977, at least 14 people have jumped off the bridge and died, and six have now jumped and survived, according to Southern Maryland Newspapers accounts.