This is the second entry of a two-part series on suicides and the Coronado Bridge. Read the first part here.
Friday, May 2, 2008 | Back in the 1980s, the San Diego-Coronado Bay Bridge had a problem: People kept jumping to their deaths, 16 in one year alone.
The California Department of Transportation, which operates the bridge, asked local mental-health advocates for help. Drew Leavens, the chief of suicide prevention for the county at the time, told Caltrans to install a barrier.
Others agreed, including a coalition of Coronado church leaders. The father of a 17-year-old bridge suicide victim told a San Diego newspaper that a barrier made sense. The Coronado City Council threw its support behind the idea.
As Leavens recalls it, Caltrans was unmoved.
“Their approach was, ‘One, we don’t want to spend any money. Two, we don’t want to screw up the prettiness of the bridge. Three, we don’t want to be sued and we don’t want to screw up our maintenance. We just want the suicides to stop or at least slow down.'”