by Paul Bowers
A man fell from the Interstate 526 bridge over the Ashley River this morning and survived, holding up traffic for about an hour while police and the U.S. Coast Guard responded to the scene. Charleston Police have not yet released an incident report, and the man's name is not yet available.
Officers arrived at the William B. Westmoreland Bridge around 8:30 a.m. and ended up pulling the man out of the marsh after he went over the bridge's concrete barrier and into the water. The bridge is about 35 feet tall at its highest point.
One eyewitness, Tarrell Zellous, says he was headed home to North Charleston in slow traffic this morning when he spotted the man sitting on the wall with his legs crossed and his hands in his lap. He says the man made eye contact with him, smiled, and then leaned back and tipped over the edge.
"It was nerve-wracking, man, and my first instinct was to go to the boat landing," Zellous says. He drove to the W.O. Thomas Jr. Boat Landing off of Bridge View Drive in North Charleston and arrived at about the same time as two police cruisers. He says a crabber took the officers out on the river in his boat, where they rescued the man and brought him to shore.
The man was taken to MUSC, and a Charleston Police Department spokesman says he is "fine."