A Ventura man committed suicide by jumping off the Cold Springs Bridge Monday. He is the 48th person to do so since the bridge opened in 1963.
Derek Ian Porter, age 39, jumped the 420 feet to his death at approximately 3 p.m. Monday afternoon, according to the local officials. The California Highway Patrol responded to a call of a man sitting on the edge of the bridge at 2:53 p.m. Monday, but the man had already jumped by the time the Sheriff’s Dept. arrived.
The Santa Barbara County Fire Dept. Search and Rescue Team was also called to the scene to help recover the body from the creek bed below.
In 2008, four individuals killed themselves by jumping from the Cold Springs Bridge, which spans 1,200 feet over a rocky ravine on Highway 154, north of Santa Barbara. In response to the increasing number of successful suicide attempts at the site, the California Dept. of Transportation, or Caltrans, has been actively preparing a plan to install physical suicide prevention barriers on the bridge, with avid support from local law enforcement agencies and mental health agencies.
There has been opposition to the barrier plan, however, including from some former UCSB professors. Those in opposition to the preventative barriers have argued the plan is too expensive, with an estimated cost of $3.3 million, and will not necessarily reduce the overall number of suicides.
A proposed alternative includes installing call boxes, cameras and an automated voice to persuade would-be jumpers to not kill themselves.