At 2:16 p.m. on July 2, Paducah-McCracken 911 received approximately 10 calls in reference to reports of a man that had stopped on the I-24 Bridge in the westbound lanes. Witnesses reported that a man had exited his vehicle, crawled over the bridge railing and jumped over the side of the bridge.
Emergency responders were immediately dispatched to the bridge. Emergency rescue boats from the McCracken County Sheriff’s Department, McCracken County Emergency Management, the City of Metropolis, the Paducah Fire Department and Ballard County Emergency Management responded to the area in an immediate effort to rescue the man.
McCracken Sheriff’s deputies and detectives interviewed witnesses at the scene on the bridge. The Paducah Police Department, Massac County Sheriff’s Department, Metropolis Police Department and Illinois State Police also responded and assisted with traffic control.
The victim’s pickup truck was towed from the bridge and placed in evidence by the McCracken County Sheriff’s Department.
At approximately 4 p.m., crews aboard the Ballard County Emergency Management boat located the man approximately one-half of a mile west of the I-24 Bridge. The man was deceased at that time. His body was at that time recovered via the Metropolis Ferry Landing Boat Ramp.
The McCracken County coroner responded to the scene and took custody of the body and began their investigation into the cause of death, as well as assisting with the sheriff’s department’s investigation into the events surrounding the unfortunate event.
The victim’s family was located and interviewed late that afternoon by sheriff’s detectives.
The victim was identified as James L. Gurley, 70, of the Kevil area of Ballard County, near the McCracken County line. The investigation is continuing by the sheriff and coroner’s offices.