Two Selma Police Officers stand near Priscilla Woods, who jumped from the Edmund Pettus Bridge into the Alabama River Tuesday. Woods was injured and airlifted to Baptist South in Montgomery with serious injuries. -- Sarah Cook

Jumper saved after man pulls her to safety

Published 10:34pm Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Editor’s note: This story was updated at 4:30 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 9 to include the woman’s identity and residence.

Details are still unclear surrounding an incident involving an Opelika woman who jumped off the Edmund Pettus Bridge Tuesday evening.

Selma resident Cedric Lewis, was driving across the bridge but said he stopped when he saw the woman’s gold Toyota come to a stop on the bridge.

“I was coming across the bridge towards Selmont from Selma and she was on the opposite side [of the road]. She exited out the passenger side of her vehicle and started walking up the bridge to the middle,” Lewis said. “Then she jumped and swam to the other side.”

Lewis said he stopped his car on top of the bridge.

“I watched her cross over the rail,” he said, adding that just after the victim jumped, he was able to flag down a Dallas County Sheriff’s Deputy who was driving across the bridge.

Doug Bacon, 29, was also driving across the bridge and saw the woman on the outside the bridge’s railing. After realizing the woman had jumped, Bacon drove to the Selmont side of the bridge, stripped down to his briefs, jumped in the river and swam out to rescue her.

“I was driving over the bridge and saw her holding on to the side and then looked back and saw she wasn’t there so I figured she jumped,” Bacon said.

Upon reaching the woman, Bacon said she was still breathing.

“There were a couple guys fishing who saw it too, but they were still farther down,” Bacon said. “By the time I brought her closer to the edge I was completely out of energy. I thought I was going under.”

Bacon said one of the fishermen helped him drag the woman out of the water.

“There was an older black man with a cane but he ducked out before all the people came,” Bacon said. “He held my phone and my wallet when I jumped in.”

Bacon was traveling to Auburn University, where he is a student.

“I was just eager to get back to Auburn,” he said. “I never expected this.”

Emergency officials quickly responded and immediately began providing treatment, including trying to warm her.

Due to the steep incline of the riverbank, it appeared officials were unable to pull her to the nearby emergency vehicles. Instead, the Selma Dallas County Fire Rescue Squad, who launched their boat from the Selma City Marina, arrived to transport the victim back to the marina, where Air Evac was waiting to transport her to a regional medical facility.

The woman was airlifted to Baptist Medical Center South in Montgomery. Selma Chief of Police William T. Riley said, when the woman was picked up she was conscious.

“She was alive and breathing,” Riley said.

Another officer said she was moaning and groaning when he saw her.

Riley said she was conscious and responsive. Her condition was serious but not critical.

The woman’s car, left on the bridge, was moved by A-1 Wrecker Service. Police officers on the bridge said they were moving her car off the bridge because it was a traffic hazard, but once they got in touch with a family member they came to pick it up.

The woman was identified Wednesday as Opelika resident Priscilla Woods. She is continuing to recover at Baptist South in Montgomery.

Staff writer Sarah Cook contributed to this report.

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  • delahaya

    This particular picture was unnecessary and tasteless. It actually shocked me a bit.

  • Dan Hoke

    Katie, please don’t worry about this article. We are still happy to have you in Selma. Tim, coverage of the event was required, but printing that picture was not “something we had to do”.

  • Guest

    Foolish behavior. The comments are hilarious!

  • Selma Guest

    The jumper gave up her right to privacy when she jumped. We are video taped 100s of times a day. You are on tape when you get gas, go to the store, go to the bank and go to school. They are millions of videos on Youtube. What about the people on the scene? Should they have closed their eyes and not looks since she was entitled to “privacy”/

  • A.S.

    I know her personally as well and it is a poor taste of judgement on their part because they aren’t thinking about the family or her….. I just pray and hope that she gets better with whatever demons she is dealing with right now and stay prayed up!!!!!

  • Michelle

    I went to school with her. Lord help her never know what a person is going through. Sad

  • Nichole Downing

    I hope she owns this paper when its all over with. I can only pray that your loved ones should the find themselves in this situation would be shown more respect than what you have shown this family. Shame anyone who was a part of this mockery.

  • Kelley Nye

    very poor taste to show this woman’s picture at what is probably the lowest point of her life. Journalism has lost all morals

  • Kimesha Houston Alvarado

    STj really have gone too far! This picture is a total violation of this young yet troubled woman’s privacy! This photo is tasteless, when I heard about this tragedy I wondered who she was…but never expected her face and hurt body plastered on the STJ’s front page! No respect!

    • popdukes12

      I must agree, but remember that these reporters shoot for press awards each year, and if a wire service picked this up it could help them win one of those (maybe). The lady kinda looks like Michelle Obama. I mean she has the tennis shoes on and everything..

      • Kimesha Houston Alvarado

        Hey Dukes this is not the time for jokes!! This ladies privacy deserve a lot more discretion and respect than politics!!! The 1st Lady comes to mind when you see this…smh@u TH!!

      • Dorothy

        popdukes12 , Are you out of your mind or are you just ignorant ?

      • acourtland

        Just ignorant. Someone who has a lot of time to google topics and add them to his verbose responses to feign intelligence.

  • Harvey Clapp

    wonder if the rescuer got his phone and wallet back from the man who “. . . ducked out”?

    • Tim Reeves

      Harvey, he did.

  • BamaBoy

    Nice to know there are still modern day hero’s who see a need and take personal risk to meet it!

  • Benita Clay-Davis

    STJ: If this young woman was “unidentified” why would you post a picture of her laying in mud??? This picture is shocking at the least and as a mother/daughter/sister, I cant imagine opening a paper and seeing a loved one in this manner. This photo (not the story!) shows a lack of judgement and poor taste on your part. Disappointing at the least..horrific.. This woman should have not been “displayed” in this manner out courtesy for her..

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