Bridge jumper lives to tell her story, wants to warn othersWhen Michelle Busker leapt from the bridge on County Road C near JJ’s Outpost Bar and Grill on Aug. 19, 2011, she had no idea how her life was about to change.
By: Jackie Grumish, New Richmond News
When Michelle Busker leapt from the bridge on County Road C near JJ’s Outpost Bar and Grill on Aug. 19, 2011, she had no idea how her life was about to change.
She hit the ground and came up moaning. Her friends rushed her to the hospital thinking she had just broken her wrist.
Busker said she doesn’t remember much from the incident, but doctors tell her she’s lucky she’s not paralyzed or dead.
While her friends were correct in assuming Busker had broken her wrist, the Roberts native also suffered a broken neck, 17-inch cut on her scalp and severe head trauma.
As a teenager, Busker said she and her friends used to jump from the bridge.
“We used to come down here all the time to swim in the river and jump off the bridge,” she said. “I just never realized how dangerous it was until now. It’s so dangerous.”
Busker said she doesn’t remember much after she jumped.
“My friends say I was moaning and when I walked out of the river I was clutching my arm,” she said.
The group rushed Busker to Westfields Hospital and it wasn’t until a few days later that Busker realized the extent of her injuries.
“I thought I had a broken wrist,” she said. “In the end, I broke my wrist to the point that the bone popped out, I broke my neck and I had a 17-inch cut from the back of my head to the front – basically the skin was hanging off my head and needed to be sewed back together.”
She had to have a bar inserted into her wrist to hold it together; and a drain was placed in her head to help with the swelling.
“It was really bad,” she said. “It was just a really dumb decision.”
Busker, who has a 2-year-old daughter, said she had planned to have a night out with friends. It was somewhere between 2 a.m. and 3 a.m. when someone suggested the group jump from the bridge into the Apple River.
“It was for old time’s sake, you know?” she said.
While Busker’s friend jumped unharmed from the west side of the bridge, Busker said she jumped from the east side, into the shallow waters.
Busker said it took several months to build enough courage to return to the bridge.
“It was really emotional coming back here,” she said. “Walking to the edge and seeing just how shallow it is. You can see the rocks at the bottom. It can’t be more than a foot deep.”
In an attempt to discourage people from jumping from the bridge, Busker said she called the county to ask if anything more could be done. Signs of “no standing or jumping from bridge” are already posted.
“I asked if they could build a higher gate to discourage teens from jumping but they said people would just climb the gate and jump from the top of that – making it even more dangerous,” she said.
Busker said she hopes that sharing her story will make people think twice about jumping off the bridge themselves.
“There are so, so, so many teenagers jumping off this bridge,” she said. “No one should be jumping off the bridge. Even if you think you’re jumping safely, it’s not safe.”