Boone County sheriff responds to increase in calls at bridge

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By Mark Ambrogi

There has been an increased number of calls to the Boone County Sheriff Dept. this summer, including several for people jumping off a bridge in north Zionsville.

As of July 25, there had been 112 calls for service on a query to Holliday Road (formerly O’Neal Road) with 68 since May 1, according to Boone County Sheriff Dept. records.

The calls include extra patrols, suspicious vehicles, juvenile problems, traffic stops, crashes, road hazards, trash dumping and a disabled vehicle.

The major problem, however, has been youngsters jumping off the red steel truss bridge into Little Eagle Creek.

“We’ve stepped up extra patrols in the area,” Sheriff Mike Nielsen said. “We’ll do everything we can to stop this from happening. The unfortunate thing is that unless we catch them in the act, there isn’t much we can do. By the time Zionsville (Police Dept.) or we get there, they’ve already left the area.”

Nielsen said unfortunately it’s not illegal to jump off the bridge.

“It’s dangerous, but there are no laws we can enforce until they go in the water and touch the bottom of the creek, and then it becomes trespassing (on private property),” Nielsen said. “In the state you can be on a boat on a creek and flow through that creek, and as long as you don’t get out of that boat and touch yourself on the bottom of the creek, you’re not trespassing. We don’t want to take anyone to jail, but we will if we have to just to show that we are serious about making sure we enforce what law we can and make sure no one gets hurt. It’s not deep enough in that area in some spots. It’s deeper now than what it has been because of the amount of rain we’ve had. We want to make sure someone jumping in there doesn’t break a leg, get seriously hurt or even killed.”

The bridge reopened in 2009 after being closed to cars for three years until repairs were finished.

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