Tony Scott suicide won't prompt bridge review, Caltrans says
Caltrans officials said they plan no safety inspections of the Vincent Thomas Bridge in the aftermath of director Tony Scott's death and consider his apparent suicide an "isolated incident."
Suicides at the bridge are relatively rare, officials said. Neither Caltrans nor the Los Angeles County coroner’s officials keep records of suicides at that location.
A review of Times archives found records of only a few incidents in the last 20 years, including a 32-year-old man who jumped to his death in 1996, despite efforts by witnesses to stop him. And in 2000, a motorist drove the wrong way onto the bridge and crashed into another car before leaping to his death.
An 18-foot-high fence was installed on both sides of the bridge in 1971 to prevent falling debris, but was also considered a suicide deterrent. Scott scaled the fence before he jumped, witnesses and authorities said.
Assembly member Tom Ammiano, whose San Francisco district includes the Golden Gate Bridge, called for more safety measures and suicide barriers on bridges statewide.
Ammiano said more than 1,500 documented jumps have been taken from the Golden Gate Bridge since it opened in 1937. Unlike the Vincent Thomas Bridge, it does not have a fence or other barrier to prevent jumpers.
Meantime, the Los Angeles County coroner's office said it will likely take weeks to complete the investigation into Scott's death.
An autopsy was performed Monday. But as in many cases, the coroner's office said it would not have a final cause of death until toxicology and other tests are back in several weeks.
Officials have not determined whether the "Top Gun" director had any health problems before he jumped off the San Pedro bridge Sunday, but said family members have denied media reports that he was suffering from cancer.
"The family told us it is incorrect that he has inoperable brain cancer," said Craig Harvey, a chief for the coroner's office.
-- Andrew Blankstein and Richard Winton