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Bridge jumpers ignore warning signs a year after teen badly injured in pushing incident

A year after a teen broke six ribs and punctured both lungs after being pushed off a 60-foot bridge in Washington state, people are ignoring the "no jumping" signs.
/ Source: TODAY

A 60-foot bridge in Washington state is marked with "no jumping" signs, but plenty of people are still taking the plunge a year after a teen suffered serious injuries when a friend pushed her off it.

Jordan Holgerson, 17, broke six ribs and punctured both lungs on Aug. 7, 2018, when she was pushed off the bridge at Moulton Regional Park by friend Taylor Smith, 19. The scene was caught on video and went viral.

TODAY's Joe Fryer returned a year later to find that it remains a popular place to take a leap despite new signs saying "No jumping or diving."

Fryer witnessed 12 people jump off the bridge in two days. No one was injured.

"The adrenaline rush, jumping off the bridge, so much fun,'' one jumper told TODAY.

Holgerson's family says she still deals with pain around her rib cage and shoulders and began having panic attacks six months ago. In the video, she can be seen hesitating before Smith pushes her from behind.

Smith pleaded guilty to reckless endangerment and apologized in court in March "for the pain and humiliation I had caused by my mindless action that occurred last summer."

She was sentenced to two days behind bars and 38 days on a county work crew.

An official from Clark County, which oversees Moulton Regional Park, said it's difficult to stop the jumpers beyond putting up the signs.

"I had lots of people with other suggestions: putting up fences, posting guards, things like that,'' county manager Shawn Henessee told Fryer. "If I put a fence up, then what happens if somebody crawls over the fence? And then they get tangled in the fence."

Local EMS officials told Fryer that paramedics typically respond to two to three injury calls a year from the bridge.

There also is no county ordinance that bans jumping from the bridge, so there's no legal penalty for jumping. Even if the county passed an ordinance, officials note they would still need someone to enforce it.

"The message is actually very simple: You're not immune to the laws of physics, and in the end, gravity always wins,'' Henessee said.