Suicide suspected in Interstate 70 crash, bridge jump
A man who jumped off the Smithton Bridge on Monday likely committed suicide, according to Westmoreland County Coroner Ken Bacha.
At 2:40 p.m., Brian Hayden, 39, of Monessen crashed a car he was driving westbound into a barrier on the bridge that carries Interstate 70 over the Youghiogheny River between South Huntingdon and Rostraver townships.
“It appears that collision was him trying to possibly drive the car off the bridge,” Bacha said.
Witnesses reported seeing the man jump over the barrier. Hayden’s body was found in the water. The bridge is 143 feet high, about half as high as a football field is long.
Traffic was affected as state police investigated and firefighters diverted motorists off the Smithton exit. Other rescue teams on the Great Allegheny Passage near Cedar Creek Park removed his body.
An autopsy was performed Tuesday. An official ruling on the cause and manner of death are pending toxicology results, Bacha said.
It appears to be the second incident this summer in the region in which a motorist jumped off a bridge and died.
On June 14, a McKees Rocks woman stopped her car on the Homestead Grays Bridge, left three children inside and jumped to her death in the Monongahela River, according to Pittsburgh authorities.
Rescue crews pulled the body of Stanlee Allyn Holbrook, 26, from the river about two hours later.
Renatta Signorini is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Renatta at 724-837-5374, [email protected] or via Twitter .