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Man dies after jumping onto I-5 near Denny — UPDATE

A man died in a leap onto I-5 near the Denny Way overpass from an overpass between Capitol Hill and downtown Saturday night and was struck by a vehicle that did not stop. UPDATE: A commenter says the man apparently jumped from the Pine/Boren overpass area. We plan to ask for more information on the location and any suicide prevention efforts being made in the area. UPDATE x2: The man is reported to have leapt from the Pike overpass, according to officials. It’s the same location where this man jumped in October.

According to the Washington State Patrol, troopers and medics responded to the scene just after 11:30p Saturday night following a report of a body in a northbound lane of I-5. 

The man was pronounced dead at the scene.

The area near the overpasses between Capitol Hill and downtown over I-5 has seen regular occurrences of people jumping, falling or attempting to cross the busy freeway to access fenced-off areas often used by homeless people to camp. A representative for WSP says the preliminary investigation did not show that the man was trying to cross the roadway or accidentally fell in Saturday night’s incident.

Troopers say that the man was struck by a vehicle after the fall. The vehicle’s driver did not stop and continued to drive away. WSP is trying to locate the vehicle but has no information about the make or model.

Traffic backed up as lanes of the freeway were closed during the response and investigation.

CHS respects the sensitivity of covering suicide and attempts to cover incidents like these by sharing the facts in a responsible manner that provides information about what is happening on the streets and in the community around you. Here are two resources to help those in need: National suicide-prevention hotline: 800-SUICIDE. Local Crisis Clinic: (206) 461-3222.

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12 years ago

Thanks, Josh for your coverage of this sensitive topic. I was a witness to the aftermath of an I-5 suicide a while ago, and I still have the gruesome image vivid in my imagination. It was traumatic for all the drivers that day, and it’s important that people be made aware this is happening so that we can do all we can to prevent it.

12 years ago

Whoops, i meant to say Justin, not Josh

12 years ago

Downtown Portland has some arty fences covering along the sides of their 405, just to the west of the downtown core. They wouldn’t eliminate all suicides, but would certainly make it more difficult than simply hopping over a four foot fence. For the individual it’s over pretty quick, but I can imagine that the driver will suffer for the rest of their lives.

12 years ago


12 years ago

Thanks for your coverage.

After seeing this tragedy first hand, I just wanted to state that this was indeed near the Pine/Boren overpass area and not Denny Way. I hope the city can do what they can to help avoid future tragedies near this location. I’ve read on CHS blog and it seems there has been several other incidents near to this same Pine overpass.

12 years ago

Thanks — I’ll make a note above and will try to confirm specifics with authorities. It’s true we’ve documented these incidents in past at Pine/Boren which has much more foot traffic than the much steeper Denny.

I Hear the Voices
12 years ago

Yeah McGinn, what’srong with you? Your lack of action is practically begging your residents to jump from these bridges. THESE BRIDGES NEED FENCES. And so does every building (including houses) that are more than 10 feet tall. And since this poor man was likely killed by the car rather than the fall, if you really cared about the people in Seattle you’d make sure that every car that enters the city is wrapped in a layer of bubblewrap no less than 5 feet thick. ARE YOU LISTENING?

12 years ago

When driving home Sat evening from SOuth lake Union (southbound on Boren around 4:45-5:00) we saw a young man who looked intoxicated or under some kind of influence standing up on the barrier of this overpass, a lender young man in a patterned hoodie with very short dark hair. He was muttering to himself and looked very disoriented. Two men walking up the hill sort of walked around him and ignored him. And others just took a wider path to walk around and avoid him. I turned as we drove by to see him jump off back to the street and then back up on the barrier looking over the overpass, his arms flung wide, as he was yelling something. I was just hoping he didn’t fall over, and was worried if we honked it would startle him.
I hope this was not the same guy, looks like the time difference was pretty vast between when we saw someone and this incident but either way I was shocked to see no one even try to stop him.
Sad story, hope no one else does this.

12 years ago

Tim williamson was my boyfriend since the summer. I met him in Soul Food Cafe, wearing a red wig!.. even though I am a brunette.. we instantly liked each other, and we started hanging out every day. He never mentioned to me that he would kill himself but he would smoke marihuana, which I do to, and sometimes pills or lsd. When he was on those pills he would not even be able to drive normally, which was really scary to me, but he did not seem to be really scared about it. The medical examiner only found marihuana in his system, so it seems like he was not under that influence, but the description of the person that talks about him sounds a lot like how he was, sometimes a loner.. he would always be wearing a hoodie, and I do remember one like she mentioned, i would even bet he was kind of looking down probably lost…because that was how he looked when he was sad.He really wanted to get things done for the future, since we had plans, and I even called him that same week and left a message saying i loved him but he never replied. His family even said he was not very talkative I got the news today and I still can;t believe its real. His hair was also indeed dark, but more like a brown.. which is still a brunette color, and he was 5;7 I believe, not very tall, but very skinny indeed, so that sounds like the description of the woman that saw Timmy. He was a great person, really kind towards others and i can t even explain how desperate i feel after receiving the news. Its really hard to believe he killed himself because he was full of life.

11 years ago

I was driving north on I5 and arrived at the scene seconds after the man jumped. I’m pretty sure he was below the Madison St. Bridge in the white lines that are between the rightmost lane and the other two.
There were other people standing over him.

I used my van to block traffic in the rightmost lane so that cars would sotp going past the scene on the right. One of the people examining the victim ran back to his car, grabbed rubber gloves and a stethascope, and ran back. He then began to administer CPR. The first officials at the scene were people from the WDOT but they were not equiped to provide any more help to the man than the CPR already being administered. Then the police and fire depts arrived and blocked off the lane to the left of the scene, so that there was then only one lane left open.