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Police can’t confirm bridge jumper

Officers: Little evidence to suggest Thompson Bridge incident occurred

POSTED: December 10, 2008 5:00 a.m.

A man claiming to be a witness to a plunge off Thompson Bridge late Monday night swears he saw a man jump from the bridge.

Authorities aren’t so sure.

Gainesville police continue to investigate the report of a late-night bridge jumper, but so far have no reports of missing persons and have recovered no body. The driver of a truck that the alleged jumper reportedly ran from has also not come forward.

Gainesville Police Lt. Brian Kelly said Tuesday morning that a 28-year-old man, whose name he would not release, called 911 from Thompson Bridge shortly after 11 p.m. Monday to report that he saw a black Toyota Tundra stopped on the shoulder of the northbound lanes. The man said a white male was securing cargo in the bed of the truck when he inexplicably ran across the northbound lanes, leaped over the rail and jumped off the bridge.

The alleged witness said he was in his car when he saw the incident. The truck drove off, he said.

There were no other witnesses to the alleged incident.

Police shut down the northbound lanes of Thompson Bridge for more than an hour while they conducted a shoreline search with fire department first responders. Nothing was discovered. Kelly said officers also checked the banks again during the day Tuesday and discovered no sign that anyone had entered or come out of the water.

Kelly said police are holding off on requesting the aid of the Hall County sheriff’s dive team, given the water temperature and depth of the water.

"We want to make sure before we put someone at risk that we actually have someone missing," Kelly said.

The witness was interviewed again Tuesday, Kelly said, and he maintained his story. Tuesday night, Kelly said investigators plan to check today with other agencies to determine if there are any missing persons reports.



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