Scoot over Florida Man, because there’s a new type of guy from Louisiana. A 26-year old man from Lafayette, Louisiana jumped off the Atchafalaya Basin Bridge and into the river after being stuck in a traffic jam. The incident was captured by Khory Vaughan, a guy who let his friend jump off a bridge.
The jumper, Jimmy Jennings, told local news outlet KATC that the fall hurt his shoulder, but he was forced to swim in the strong river current for hours.
A dive from that height could have badly hurt Jennings, but he didn’t suffer any major injuries. Still, a hurt shoulder could impair your ability to swim, and Jennings was lucky the fall didn’t stop him from keeping himself afloat.
Jennings told local news that the current stopped him from getting back to shore, and he ended up spending a very long time in the water, from KATC:
“When I hit the water, my shoulder went up, I kind of hurt my shoulder, but I started swimming. I couldn’t get back to the bank because the current was too strong.”
“I stayed in the water for probably about, I had a watch on, I looked at it, for probably about 2.5 to 3 hours. I thought I was going to die, but God saved me,”
He did make it back to shore eventually, but even then he couldn’t get back to the bridge from whence he came. After finally coming ashore, Jennings wandered for hours before being rescued, according to the report. The report also says he rode an ATV around an island for an hour — where the ATV came from is not clear — then he rode a boat until he “ran out of water.” Again, the origin of the boat is unclear.
Jennings found a house, per KATC and was eventually rescued by a local Sheriff and by officers from the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries.
When the Sheriff and LDWF officers found him, they arrested him. Jennings was cited with criminal mischief and criminal trespassing, according to ABC13.
Yeah, it’s...a lot to unpack. And as if a man plummeting from a bridge into a river below wasn’t enough, the traffic jam itself was caused by a 10-car pileup, according to another KATC report. The pileup shut down a stretch of I-10 for hours but according Jennings himself, it wasn’t why he jumped.
Jennings shared the thought process leading up to his “rash decision,” as the Independent called it, on FaceBook. He said his joie de vivre made him jump:
“I was just high on life. Everything was going my way and I’ve seen people do it before only I remembered after I jumped that was in movies,”
I mean, I don’t really see the connection between joy and jumping off a bridge because of a traffic jam, but I’m happy Jimmy Jennings was (mostly) unhurt.