CAUGHT ON TAPE: Bridge Jumper Risks Life

POSTED: Wednesday, June 30, 2010 - 8:25am

UPDATED: Wednesday, June 30, 2010 - 8:29am

A news crew from NBC affiliate KCRA caught shocking footage of teens taunting death at El Dorado County's Salmon Falls Bridge. The video shows one teen "car surfing", standing on the roof of a speeding car as it approaches the bridge. Seconds later he jumps from the moving vehicle into the South Fork of the American River 30 feet below.

"Death is my reaction," said Lesa Boeck in response to the video. Teens at the popular jump site said they've seen the stunt before, sometimes at speeds up to 40 mph. "That's pretty extreme," said Brian Chandler.

Chandler admits his son cliff jumps, but he said jumping from a moving vehicle is too far. "Scary and dangerous, yeah," said Levi Boeck, a young teen who said his mom would ground him forever if he made that jump. "Hit your head and you're gone. Was it worth it? No," said Lesa Boeck.

The video was equally shocking to Park Ranger Richard Preston, who had never seen the stunt before being shown the video. "It's completely insane. Totally illegal on several counts," Preston said. Car surfing itself is an infraction for both the surfer and the driver. Cliff jumping is actually the more serious offense. It's a misdemeanor.

"The penalty is up to $1,000 in fines and possible jail time," Preston said. People who frequent the bridge said people are out jumping everyday during the summer. Park rangers say because of budget cuts, they don't have enough people to stop them.

"Five years ago, we had almost twice the number of officers here at Folsom that we do now," Preston said. "We are trying to pick our heaviest problem areas and just concentrate on those." It was almost one year ago that a teenager died while cliff jumping at different popular jump site, Lake Natoma. Park rangers say a year doesn't go by where someone isn't killed or injured while cliff jumping.

They say they hope parents will talk to their kids about the dangers of cliff jumping after seeing the video.

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