Bridge Jumper's Body Recovered

The Walton County Sheriff’s Office has recovered the body a man who jumped into Choctawhatchee Bay from the Clyde Wells Bridge on US 331.

Two people, identified as Erica Cooper and David Henry, both local residents, were on the old section of the bridge, which is no longer used for traffic. They told investigators a man identified as James L. Spears decided to jump in and see if he could swim over to a piling.

Mr. Henry jumped in as part of an attempt to save the man. At one point he had a hand onto Spears but could not hold on.

The incident occurred around 6:45 p.m. Wednesday evening.

Walton Sheriff’s Public Information Officer Frank E. Owens said searchers used a Sheriff’s boat, AirHeart Air Ambulance helicopter and a South Walton Fire Department wave runner in an attempt to locate the man.

Spears’ body was recovered Thursday morning in the bay not far from where he disappeared.

Accidental drowning is listed as the tentative cause of death.


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