3 arrests after parachute jumps off Foresthill Bridge

By: Gus Thomson, Reporter/Columnist
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Three out-of-county men were arrested on suspicion of trespassing on the Foresthill Bridge catwalk near Auburn after parachute jumps off the 730-foot-high span at dusk were spotted by authorites.

The arrests took place Sunday night after a group of parachutists were seen by deputies jumping off the span - the highest in California and fourth highest in the U.S.

The arrests followed a report of a possible jumper.

The Placer County Sheriff’s Office was advised by dispatchers at 9:19 p.m. that a woman was on the outside railing of the bridge over the north fork American River canyon contemplating suicide. Two other suicidal people had been talked off the bridge earlier in the week by emergency personnel. A total of 87 people have plunged to their deaths since 1973.

The Sheriff’s Office said deputies responded but found no sign of a woman on the railing.

Deputies also checked under the bridge deck and witnessed a group of people jump with parachutes from the catwalk. The area is posted for no trespassing and entering the enclosed catwalk under the bridge is a misdemeanor offense.

Deputies alerted State Parks rangers, who were below the bridge as part of the emergency effort that followed the potential suicide report.

In the waning light, a deputy relayed the location of three jumpers to rangers and he lit them up with his flashlight during their entire descent into the canyon, the Sheriff’s Office said.

Once the jumpers landed, the three ran from the ranger, who followed them with lights and sirens on, in his patrol vehicle.

The three were detained and booked into Placer County Jail on suspicion of resisting arrest and trespassing on the bridge catwalk.

There were other jumpers, but they were able to get away, the Sheriff’s Office said in a Facebook post.

Arrested were Christopher W. Ludlow, 27, of Sacramento, Christoper T. Peterson, 30, of Davis, and Michael King, 29, of South Lake Tahoe, the Sheriff’s Office said.