ShareThis Page

Star athlete leaps to his death off Route 28 bridge

Chuck Biedka
| Thursday, June 14, 2012, 2:01 p.m.
State police and South Buffalo firefighters work near the bridge over the Route 28 Expressway in South Buffalo where a man jumped to his death on Wednesday afternoon. 
Eric Felack | Valley News Dispatch
State police and South Buffalo firefighters work near the bridge over the Route 28 Expressway in South Buffalo where a man jumped to his death on Wednesday afternoon. Eric Felack | Valley News Dispatch

A multi-sport star athlete at Freeport Area High School who went on to play football at Slippery Rock University apparently committed suicide Wednesday afternoon when he stepped off the side of a Route 28 bridge high above Buffalo Creek, officials said.

State police and Armstrong County Deputy Coroner Brian Myers said Derek Durand, 20, of Buffalo Township, died from injuries.

The Valley News Dispatch does not report suicides unless they occur in public.

Police said at about 1:30 p.m. they received phone calls about a man who had parked his car and was walking on the bridge.

Durand parked a black Chevrolet Cruze, got out, and walked about 150 feet along the bridge before stepping over the barrier, police said.

The bridge, about 300 feet above the Buffalo Creek valley, carries the expressway between Buffalo Township, Butler County, and South Buffalo Township, Armstrong County.

Freeport firefighters used the Butler-Freeport Community Trail, which passes under the bridge, to reach the dead man's body. It was not immediately known if anyone was on that section of the hiking/biking trail at the time of the tragedy.

It's also unclear if he left a message.

Victim was star athlete

Durand was well known and liked.

Durand was the Valley News Dispatch Athlete of the Year in 2010-11 and was a member of the Slippery Rock University football squad.

Last fall, as a true freshman, he played in six games for Slippery Rock. He made four catches for 49 yards and scored one touchdown.

Durand was one of the WPIAL's most productive receivers and helped to lead Freeport to the quarterfinals.

He also was a star basketball player in high school and collected three medals at the WPIAL Class AA track and field championships several years ago.

Durand's high school and college coaches couldn't be reached Wednesday.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.

click me