MARCO ISLAND — Apparently, someone thought it was a good idea. At 7:14 Sunday evening, Marco Island Police Dept. received a call from the Collier Sheriff’s Office, with a report of an individual threatening to jump off the Jolley Bridge.
“We did encounter a person up on the bridge,” said Marco Police Chief Don Hunter said of his officers. “He was not suicidal, just a thrill seeker. We told him that it is prohibited to jump off, and escorted him off the bridge.” No arrest was made in that incident, said Hunter. Passersby said the bridge was “lit up like a Christmas tree,” with multiple official vehicles, boats underneath, and traffic blocked.
According to a Collier Sheriff’s Incident Report, a witness, Norman Boening, did see a man jump off the bridge. The report from Deputy Miguel Nova quoted Boening as saying, in a sworn statement, “while heading southbound on the Jolley Bridge, I observed a white male, with long hair and no shirt jumping from the top of the bridge.”
Another witness, Adiel Soler, stated that while leaving the boat ramp adjacent to the bridge, he observed a white boat with two passengers. A white male with no shirt and long hair exited the boat and ran toward the bridge.
“It’s usually kids thinking it would be fun,” said Hunter. “Jumping from that height, it’s almost like jumping onto concrete. You could break your feet or your legs, and of course you could drown.”
Hunter noted that a City of Marco ordinance bans jumping from any bridge in the city, including the Jolley Bridge, which has a vertical clearance of 55 feet for the lower of the two spans at mean high water.