Man survives suicide jump from bridge

Sara Schweid

A man jumped off the Washington Avenue Bridge into the Mississippi River in an attempted suicide Saturday, according to police reports.

Officers arrived at the bridge and saw the man, who appeared to be in his early 50s, sitting on the edge of the pedestrian level, the report said.

The man told officers he planned to jump in three minutes. According to the report, while officers were trying to speak with the man, he jumped off the bridge into the river.

He survived the fall but refused to swim to shore, said Steve Johnson, deputy chief of police for the University. The man attempted to avoid officers and continue swimming, but a few officers were able to make contact with him, Johnson said.

He said the man had been complaining of back pain after he jumped, so the officers stabilized his spine on a floating backboard in case of a spinal injury.

The man was picked up by a fire department rescue boat and taken to Hennepin County Medical Center for treatment, Johnson said.

He said the man, who refused to tell officers his name, was fortunate to survive a fall that could have been fatal.

“He jumped in the river and was able to swim away,” Johnson said, “so he was very lucky.”

Fraud at U bookstore
University police are investigating two unrelated cases of fraudulent purchases at the University Bookstore.

In both cases, stolen U Cards were used to purchase several thousand dollars worth of items, Johnson said.

In one case, Jami McMannes said she lost her U Card and reported it to the U Card Office, where she was told it was canceled and was issued a replacement, Johnson said.

She later found the original card and was able to continue using it even though it supposedly had been canceled, Johnson said.

McMannes told police she later lost the original card again and was informed of fraudulent purchases made with the card, he said.

Purchases included books, an iPod and a digital camera totaling more than $1,700, Johnson said.

“The investigation is currently inactive pending further leads,” he said.

In the second case, fraudulent purchases included an iPod and computers, Johnson said.

The report listed three transactions, only two of which were detailed. One purchase was for almost $3,000, another was for more than $2,800, Johnson said.

The case is under investigation, and no charges have been filed, he said.

According to its Web site, the University Bookstore allows students to make purchases with their U Card provided they have a second form of identification.

Johnson said he would urge all retailers accepting U Cards as a method of payment to require a second form of identification.

“It’s an inconvenience at the time, but it certainly makes it more difficult for anyone to steal your card,” he said.

Man’s blood-alcohol concentration almost four times legal limit
A Minneapolis man was found passed out on the lawn in front of Burger King on Washington Avenue Southeast on July 25, according to police reports.

J.D. Piller had blood-shot eyes and slurred several of his words; officers could smell alcohol, according to the report.

Piller reportedly registered a 0.31 percent blood-alcohol concentration. That’s almost four times Minnesota’s legal limit for driving, 0.08.

He was cited with public consumption of alcohol and was taken to a detoxification center, according to the report.