Four arrested after jumping off Douglas Bridge

Posted: Thursday, August 01, 2002

JUNEAU (AP) -- Four men were charged with disorderly conduct after jumping off the Douglas Bridge early this morning.

Curtis Davis and Harry Williams, both 22, Michael Guthrie, 18, and Shaun Guthrie, 19, jumped off the center of the bridge on the south side at 5:56 a.m., the Juneau Police Department said. The men were chilled by the water but otherwise uninjured, police said.

The height of the bridge which spans Gastineau Channel, varies across its length. At a zero tide the center is 66.4 feet above the water, according to the harbormaster.

When police and Coast Guard officers reached the scene, they found Davis and Williams stranded on rocks surrounding the center support of the bridge.

The Guthries had managed to swim to safety and were recovered on the Douglas side of Gastineau Channel, police said.

A 41-foot Coast Guard rescue boat picked up Davis and Williams and brought them to the Coast Guard dock, where they were handed over to police, said Coast Guard Chief Robert Edwardson.

All four men were charged with disorderly conduct for creating hazardous conditions for the Coast Guard, emergency medical technicians and police officers, who had to ensure their safety in a dangerous situation, police said.

Michael Guthrie also was charged as a minor consuming alcohol.

They were lucky they were not injured, Edwardson said.

''Depending on what the tide's doing, there could be some pretty strong currents underneath the bridge,'' Edwardson said. ''If people get caught in the current, although they're close to shore, they may not be able to make it. Also, the water's pretty cold, so if they decide to do this, they could succumb to hypothermia pretty quick.''

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