(ST. LOUIS, MO.)-- A man who police said fled the scene of an automobile accident Saturday after flourishing a weapon led officers on an extended chase before stopping his vehicle on the Poplar Street Bridge and jumping into the Mississippi River about 6 p.m.
The 41-year-old man survived the jump. Tugboat workers pulled him from the water. He was transferred to a St. Louis City Fire Department rescue boat and taken to St. Louis University Hospital, where he was reported in fair condition.
Kim Bacon, public information officer with the city Fire Department, said paramedics told her that the man appeared to be in good condition, with bruises primarily to his backside. His body temperature had fallen to 96 degrees Fahrenheit.
The man's troubles started late Saturday afternoon.
"He was involved in a hit-and-run, supposedly, at Wyoming and Nebraska, where he supposedly flourished a weapon," a spokesman for St. Louis police said. "That's what the officer was advised, by the people who were struck."
The man fled from the scene, police said, with officers in pursuit.
"He had another accident at Broadway and Gasconade," the police spokesman said. "They pursued him north on (Interstate) 55, and he ended up going off the other end of the city at Highway (Interstate) 70 and Jennings Station Road, where we discontinued our pursuit, because he entered St. Louis County.
"He was being pursued by the county, by county agencies. I guess he came back in the city, but we did not pursue him. The next thing we knew was that he was over on the bridge and he jumped off the bridge."
The drop to the river appeared to be approximately 100 feet.
At 6:30 p.m. Saturday, St. Louis police and several trucks and vans from the Fire Department assembled at the bank of the Mississippi River off Leonor K. Sullivan Boulevard south of the Gateway Arch and north of the Poplar Street Bridge. Police limited eastbound Poplar bridge traffic to one lane. Flashing police lights lit up the east end of the bridge.
Fourth District Lt. Jerome Dampier said two of his police car units responded to a call for a man on the bridge.
"They got there, and he jumped off the bridge as they were arriving," Dampier said.
The Fire Department rescue boat was launched from the west bank of the river and picked up the man in about 15 minutes, the Fire Department reported. NOTES: To reach reporter Doug Kaufman: E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Phone: 314-340-8203
Police Man Leaps From Poplar Street Bridge After Police Chase; Suspect Survives 100-Foot Plunge Into Frigid River Doug Kaufman; Of The Post-Dispatch December 10, 2000, Sunday, Five Star Lift Edition Copyright 2000 St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Inc. St. Louis Post-Dispatch December 10, 2000, Sunday, Five Star Lift Edition Terms And Conditions Copyright(c) 2000 LEXIS-NEXIS, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights Reserved.