State Senator promises safer Coronado Bridge

Posted at 5:09 PM, Nov 02, 2016
and last updated 2016-11-02 20:50:47-04

Hundreds of suicides and now the tragic crash off the Coronado bridge that killed four people are igniting calls to act now before one more person dies. State Senator Ben Hueso is promising to fast track an emergency initiative that would fund a study about bridge suicide barriers.

A stunning bridge with a heartbreaking history.

“We've seen a 50% increase in the number of suicide victims in the last five years,” said Coronado resident Rhonda Haiston. Since opening in 1969, she says 381 people have jumped to their deaths from the iconic bridge. The dark and haunting cloud of suicide has loomed over Haiston's family since was a little girl.

“Both of my uncles died of suicide," she said. 

That's why Haiston founded the Coronado San Diego Bridge Collaborative for Suicide Prevention. They've raised $15,000 to study bridge suicide barriers. During a recent memorial for the four people killed when a man drove off of the bridge, she ran in to local state senator, Ben Hueso.

“Senator Hueso has given us confidence that he is going to right away send through Congress an emergency initiative bill,” she said.

Sourcing federal money to study what kind of suicide barrier should line the bridge. The cost of the study, $200,000. She says Hueso also wants to postpone the installation of lights along the bridge, saying saving lives should come first. Haiston thinks her uncles would be proud.

“So, if I can do something to help, that's my goal.”