Person struck by vehicle on Brent Spence Bridge, falls into river

CINCINNATI - Latest on the search as of 5 a.m. on Saturday, June 25, 2011

Capt. Teal Nally confirms, search crews have removed a body from the Ohio River. They are looking to identify the person.

Stay tuned to 9 News and WCPO.com for the latest.

Members of the Boone County Water Rescue team searched the Ohio River all day Friday after a man was thrown from the Brent Spence Bridge after a series of unfortunate events.

Latest on the search 11:30 PM:

Searchers believe they've found the victim.  A dive team was mobilized on board a rescue boat and taken just down river from the Brent Spence bridge.  The dive team is prepared to enter the water around midnight.

The incident began just before 7 a.m. A man was trying to push a broken down Chevy Camaro that ran out of gas to the other side of the bridge in the southbound lanes of I-71/75. A Good Samaritan pulled up behind the man in an SUV to block traffic.

That man was Jerry Hargett who was on his way to work.

"I put my flashers on and tried to block for him because it was not a good place to stop," said Hargett.

Hargett then called 911.

The victim realized he could not push the car up the incline and went back to Hargett to see if he had a gas can.

During that brief conversation Hargett noticed a tan van coming up behind them.

"The whole time I'm looking in my rearview mirror and as I'm looking I see this tan van coming pretty fast," said Hargett.

That van didn't slow down and struck Hargett's SUV.

"I just more or less braced for the impact and that is it.  I really didn't have time to tell the guy to get into the Suburban or anything like that and the next thing I know we got smashed," explained Hargett.

After the impact Hargett realized what had happened.

"I saw the van was all smashed up.  I saw my Suburban was all smashed and I looked underneath of my Suburban and saw a tennis shoe there," said Hargett.

Hargett said he knew the victim had been knocked over the side of the bridge.

"I looked down into the water and I saw him.  He bobbed up once.  We stood there for a few minutes and I saw him come up again.  I saw him come up a third time near a couple of barges that were down on the Cincinnati side and that was the last time we saw him," said Hargett.

Boats with the U.S. Coast Guard, Covington police, Cincinnati police and the Boone County Sheriff's Office searched the waters west of the bridge for the man.

"The problem is there is so much debris down there, we have to meticulously look at each piece of debris to see what's around," said Boone County Water Rescue Captain Dale Apple.

Throughout Friday afternoon and evening searchers focused on one area hopeful that their sonar was picking up the victim.

By late Friday night searchers were still looking.

Several lanes of southbound I-71/75 on the Brent Spence Bridge were blocked as a result of the incident until around 10:15 a.m. and drivers experienced significant traffic delays throughout the morning.

The incident remains under investigation. Police have identified the missing man, but will not release his name until his body is found.

The driver of the vehicle that struck the SUV was taken to the hospital. The driver's identity and condition have not been released and police have not yet said if any charges will be filed.

Police say if your car breaks down on a road without an emergency lane, the safest thing to do is wait inside your vehicle until police arrive.

 

Stay with 9 News and WCPO.com for the latest on this incident.

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