News

Woman jumps from bridge

A 31-year-old Oak Harbor woman died just before 2 p.m. Thursday after she jumped off the Deception Pass Bridge.

A Deception Pass park ranger and at least one bystander observed the woman go over the edge of the 182-foot high structure.

Her body was recovered from the water by a passing tugboat, the “Vulcan”, which later transferred it to a parks department vessel.

Park rangers transported Marsha Lunceford’s body to a waiting ambulance at Cornet Bay Marina, where Island County Coroner Robert Bishop pronounced her dead at the scene.

Lunceford’s cause of death is still undetermined, pending an autopsy.

About an hour before her death, Navy security officers and Oak Harbor police responded to the Lunceford residence in the Crescent Harbor Navy housing area. Lunceford’s husband had called 911 to report that she had made a suicide threat.

Before police could arrive, Lunceford left her residence and drove to the Deception Pass bridge.

Law enforcement was advised to attempt to locate the woman’s vehicle.

At approximately 1:50 p.m., a Washington State Patrol trooper located Lunceford’s vehicle parked at a turnout on Deception Pass bridge.

Jack Hartt, Deception Pass Park manager, said park rangers who responded to the sighting of the vehicle arrived at the bridge just as Lunceford jumped.

“We had staff drive by, not knowing the description of the subject at the time,” Hartt said. “When they didn’t see the subject, they parked and went toward the subject but she had already gone. We did have a witness to the whole thing, but she had no chance of making any difference, either.”

Hartt said the witness was just a bystander on the bridge. Drivers crossing the bridge at around 1:52 p.m. may have also witnessed the event, he said.

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