A 62-year-old Hazelwood, Mo., woman asked her sister to stop the car, then jumped to her death Thursday afternoon off the Interstate 270 bridge into the Chain of Rocks Canal of the Mississippi River.
Illinois State Trooper James Randolph swam into the canal to rescue Betsy Watkins, according to Madison County Coroner Steve Nonn. He performed resuscitation efforts until the woman was declared dead at 4:26 p.m.
Watkins’ sister was driving the woman home from a doctor’s appointment when Watkins asked her to pull the car over at I-270 and Illinois 3. She told her sister she was feeling sick, exited the car and ran toward the bridge.
“A truck driver witnessed the decedent running along the roadway onto the bridge deck, where she stopped and then dived over the wall barrier into the canal,” Nonn wrote in a release.
Dispatchers were notified at 3:29 p.m.
Family members told authorities that Watkins had a history of mental illness and suicidal thoughts.
Nonn was waiting Friday on routine toxicology reports to determine whether Watkins was under the influence of alcohol or drugs, but he tentatively ruled her death a drowning.