VIDEO: Man jumps off Causeway Bridge, officers rescue him

A man can be seen getting out of his car and jumping off of the Causeway Bridge. (Source: Causeway Police)
A man can be seen getting out of his car and jumping off of the Causeway Bridge. (Source: Causeway Police)

COVINGTON, LA (WVUE) - Dash cam video captured the dramatic moments in the dark early morning hours Tuesday, when a man jumped off the Causeway Bridge after crashing his car into the guardrail.

With fellow officers looking on, Causeway Police Cpl. Tate Gallo jumped in after the driver, 38-year-old Jeremy Sullivan of Gulf Breeze, Fla.

"(Gallo) saw that (Sullivan) was drifting underneath the Causeway and so he jumped into the water and started swimming toward him," said Causeway Police Chief Nick Congemi.

Congemi said Sullivan soon went under and out of sight, but the officer kept swimming and searching.

"Cpl. Gallo dove further down, grabbed him, pulled him back up. For all practical purposes, (Sullivan) was drowned and dead at the time."

Crews revived him in the moments that followed.

A harrowing rescue, authorities said, that was set in motion by a critical chain of events.

"It's dark, it's pitch black out there and you are jumping into water," said Causeway General Manager Carlton Dufrechou. "It takes a lot of guts."

The first signs of trouble began, officials said, when a Northshore toll collector noticed the driver was behaving erratically and appeared to be intoxicated. The collector quickly notified Causeway Police, who went in search of Sullivan, and ultimately spotted him just as he jumped from the bridge.

"Had it not been for (toll collectors), we probably would not have been as successful as we were," Congemi said.

Officials say toll attendants are trained for these very situations. While collecting cash, they focus on scanning each passing vehicle and checking the behavior of drivers and passengers.

"Is there a loose load in the vehicle? Is somebody, like in this instance, driving a little erratically?" Dufrechou said.

On Tuesday, that was the first step in what became a total team effort - one that prevented a tragedy.

"Very proud to be involved with men and women of this caliber who put their lives on the line, I mean truly. Sometimes that is a cliché, but these officers do it on a regular basis," Congemi said.

Sullivan is still in the hospital, but will be booked with DWI and careless driving, authorities said.

Copyright 2014 WVUE. All rights reserved.