A 77-year-old Man Visiting Milwaukee With His Wife Dies After Drawbridge Opens

A 77-year-old man was walking across a drawbridge with his wife when the bridge began to open, and he was tragically slain. An autopsy report from the Milwaukee County medical examiner’s office states that Richard Charles Dujardin, a resident of Providence, Rhode Island, was about halfway across a bridge on Monday when the water level started to rise.

Rosemarie Dujardin, his wife, was the first to cross. “Although he ran, he was unable to overtake her. He tried to hold onto the railing but slipped and fell to the ground “what the findings of the study indicate. According to the medical examiner, Dujardin fell roughly 71 feet and sustained significant head damage. Though police attempted CPR, he was pronounced dead at the site.

The medical examiner found that his wife had informed authorities that he and she had arrived in Milwaukee on Friday and were staying at a downtown hotel. The accident happened on the day they were supposed to go back home. The medical examiner found that Dujardin crossed the drawbridge while staring at an iPad. His wife remarked that he walked slowly and required a hearing aid.

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“Although the lights, bells, and arms did come down at both ends of the bridge, Richard was bad at the hearing and probably didn’t see them. Seeing it ascend, he screamed and clung to the railing for dear life “So says the report. The crest of the bridge reached an angle of 90 degrees. When Dujardin finally let off, he had been hanging on for around two minutes.

The drawbridge that Dujardin was crossing is one of around seven that are operated remotely from a building on Water Street. There are two live camera feeds available to the operator, and the report states that the operator must verify the feeds before the bridge can be opened. The medical examiner noted that Dujardin “was wearing dark-colored clothing, and the railing of the bridge is dark green,” and that the video reveals that Dujardin was still on the bridge when it began to open.

Although the death is not being treated as suspicious, Milwaukee police said Wednesday that they are still looking into it. A representative for Milwaukee’s Department of Public Works indicated that the bridge operator has been placed on leave as is the customary procedure.

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Interim Public Works Commissioner Jerrel Kruschke issued a statement expressing the department’s condolences to the family and friends of the person killed in Monday’s tragedy on the Kilbourn Avenue Bridge. During the time of the occurrence, “our employee was properly trained and in his fourth year as a bridge operator, having conducted hundreds of bridge openings.” Six months ago, a 79-year-old woman was killed when the Royal Park Bridge in Florida opened beneath her as she walked her bike across it. West Palm Beach’s NBC affiliate WPTV claimed that she was only ten feet from the bridge’s end when she fell.

On the charge of manslaughter by culpable negligence, Artissua Lafaye Paulk, 43, the bridge operator, was taken into custody about a month later. According to WPTV, police said video evidence disproved Paulk’s claims that she walked outside to check the bridge for traffic and people before opening it. Following the posting of bail, Paulk was released.

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