The not-so great pretender: Man falls off bridge
Drunken stunt ends with joker tumbling 30 feet into marsh, police say
BLOOMINGTON, Minn. – A 23-year-old man is in stable condition after he plummeted off a bridge over the Minnesota River while pretending to fall off the structure.
Police got a call just before 5 a.m. Sunday from a 21-year-old man who said his friend fell off the Highway 77 bridge and into a marshy area about 30 feet below.
The caller said he was driving north when his friend, who he said had been drinking, told him to pull into the bridge’s emergency lane so he could urinate.
The 23-year-old eventually climbed to the ledge of the bridge, then looked at his friend and pretended to fall. “He then in fact fell,” according to a press release from the Bloomington Police Department.
Police from Bloomington and Eagan responded, and the Eagan Fire Department used a chair lift to retrieve the man. He was transported to Hennepin County Medical Center, where he was treated.
This story evoked a story about my youth. It seems lately to be the thing with me when I see certain stories. This story is about when I was an early teen. My brother Danny and friend Dwight were “feeling it” one day. We had to hatch a plan. There was this set of bridges around the corner from the house. One we called the big bridge and the other the little bridge. Come on, we had big imaginations. After all our tiny community was called Small.
The big bridge had scrapple under the bridge to prevent the dirt from washing away from under the road where the bridge met the ground. Okay, maybe I need to describe scrapple to the ladies. Scrapple is large rocks from granite quarries. They will range in size, but to give an average they probably weigh in at about seven to ten pounds and are about the size of a bowling ball.
This scrapple was to be placed on the bridge rail over the water in the creek. One of us would stand on the bridge rail along side of this rock and the other two of us would stand on the bridge roadway and wait for an oncoming car.
When a car was spotted the two of us would pretend to fight near the one standing on the rail and as the car would near we would “bump” the one standing on the rail and at the same time push the rock into the water. The water would splash while the one of us standing on the rail would land on the bank below. This wasn’t a big drop. It was probably only seven or eight feet at the most. We just had to watch for moccasins. We had our share of snakes. Fortunately we never encountered one in all our tries at this adventure.
We did this a few times till one particular time. It was the scariest one. We had ourselves poised at the ready and as the car approached we went through the routine and all went well. The water splashed well up over the bridge rail. The car was traveling quite fast and when the guy saw the water splash, he came to a screeching, tire dragging halt right on the bridge and jumped out and hung over the rail looking for a drowning victim, only to find Dwight standing on the bank brushing his pants off. Boy, was this guy upset. I thought he was going to beat all three of us, take us to our parents and have them beat us too, which was the custom in Small when kids were found doing stuff they ought not to.
We were fortunate though. He just gave us a good tongue lashing and we never did that again. That’s something ain’t it? You find something fun to do and the adults ruin it for all of us.