Maplewood man jumps into St. Croix River; weather hampers search for body

A 38-year-old Maplewood man jumped from the Interstate 94 bridge into the St. Croix River on New Year’s Eve, and dangerously cold weather has inhibited the search for his body for nearly a week, authorities say.

Passersby reportedly saw a man park a car on the shoulder of the eastbound lanes of the freeway and jump. The incident was reported at about 2:23 p.m. Dec. 31, according to Cmdr. Jerry Cusick of the Washington County Sheriff’s Department.

Multiple agencies were dispatched to the stretch that connects Minnesota and Wisconsin.

Initial efforts to locate the man’s body were unsuccessful. Temperatures dipped to about 10-below zero, making it “dangerous” for divers to respond, he said.

Cusick said some equipment froze and failed.

As of print time, responders were still waiting for the weather to become less frigid to continue the search, according to Cusick.

He said it’s a “challenging” area to search, because it’s littered with concrete, rebar and other debris.

Weather has upped the risk. Cusick said Friday afternoon that searchers would try to resume looking over the weekend in part by using remote-controlled equipment to survey the river bottom, but snow and plummeting temperatures hampered any additional efforts. 

The river has been partially covered with ice, but the spot where the man jumped was open water.

Cusick said the family has been contacted about the incident.

— Kaitlyn Roby

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