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Woman dies after jumping onto I-95

A woman died after apparently jumping from the State Route 208 overpass onto Interstate 95 in Spotsylvania County during rush hour Wednesday evening, police said. 

The 52-year-old Spotsylvania resident died as a result of the fall, said State Police Sgt. Les Tyler.

Witnesses told police it appeared that the woman had jumped from the Courthouse Road overpass into the southbound lanes, and 911 calls came in at 4:50 p.m.

The incident is still under investigation, and police were notifying the woman’s family later in the evening.

Traffic on southbound I–95 was backed up for about 5 miles hours after the incident.

One driver reported spending the better part of an hour traveling the four miles from State Route 3 to the Massaponax area around 5 p.m.

The left lane was getting by soon after, but backups snarled several miles of the interstate at rush hour. Westbound lanes of Courthouse Road—known as State Route 208—near Hood Drive were also closed for less than an hour Wednesday during the incident. One Spotsylvania resident was driving south on I–95 and planned to get off at the Massaponax exit.

She was one of several people who pulled over at the scene around 5 p.m., though she didn’t see what happened just prior. She said many motorists tried to help, including a man wearing a Navy uniform who performed CPR and took the woman’s vital signs. They also covered her with a blanket. A few called 911.

Until emergency crews arrived, those who had stopped also tried to divert traffic to the two outer lanes, according to the witness.

This is not the first death reported there.

In December 2012, a Massaponax High School senior jumped from the same overpass and died after being struck by a vehicle. And according to Free Lance–Star archives, a 41-year-old man jumped from the overpass onto northbound I–95 in November 1997. He survived.

If you or someone you know exhibits warning signs of suicide, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800/273-TALK (8255). The free, 24-hour service provides support, information and local resources to callers.

Katie Thisdell: 540/735-1975


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