Thursday Sep 27 2012
Foresthill Bridge plunge claims life of El Dorado Hills teen
By: Gus Thomson, Journal Staff Writer
Death from span near Auburn is fourth recorded in 2012
AUBURN CA - A 17-year-old youth died after jumping Wednesday from the 730-foot-high Foresthill Bridge, near Auburn. The Placer County Coroner’s Office identified the teen Thursday as Adam M. Sampson of El Dorado Hills. Dispatchers took a call from construction workers on the bridge at 10:18 a.m. reporting a potential jumper standing at the center of the span’s north walkway. A deputy arrived on the bridge shortly afterward but the youth turned, crossed over the 4½-foot-high railing and dropped into the canyon. The body was observed on the Foresthill side of the North Fork of the American River and the Placer County Sheriff’s Office dive team was able to retrieve it from the canyon. The dive team had been training at the confluence, less than a mile downstream from the bridge, Sheriff’s Office spokeswoman Dena Erwin said Thursday. Plunges from the bridge, the fourth highest in the nation and highest in California, have taken the lives of 65 people, according to an unofficial count that uses Auburn Journal and Sheriff’s Office records. Built initially as a crossing over a reservoir that was to have been created by the long-delayed Auburn dam, the bridge was opened in 1973. Telephone call boxes were installed seven years ago to provide 24-hour crisis counseling to provide potential jumpers with a lifeline. And the bridge’s earthquake retrofit and repainting project now underway is also raising railings to a height of six feet to help discourage suicidal jumps. The death was the fourth recorded at the bridge this year. An Oregon man leaped to his death Jan. 31. Two jumpers – a 26-year-old man from Dobbins and a 35-year-old Auburn woman – were killed within two hours of each other in separate incidents June 6 that authorities said were unrelated.