Minimal damage to bridge visible following Ravenel incident

MOUNT PLEASANT, SC (WCSC) - Some minor damage was spotted on the Arthur Ravenel bridge after an incident on Thursday where a man drove several times into a wall on the bridge.

Police swarmed the bridge Thursday afternoon after they say the driver of an SUV threatened to kill himself by driving his car off the bridge.

Damage to the bridge appears to be minimal with the only visible evidence seen are rubber marks on a section of the bridge's wall where 38-year-old Phillip DeClemente was seen ramming the wall with his SUV.

According to Charleston police, the suicidal man drove a white SUV onto the bridge with messages painted on it that said "Stay Away," "Back," "Happy Now" and "Game Over."

The Ravenel Bridge opened to traffic around 5:10 p.m. after being shut down for nearly four hours.

"It was chaotic. The police were just swarming the area," said John Newland. "I feel bad for the guy and hope he's okay. It's been a crazy, chaotic afternoon."

During the afternoon ordeal, motorists at the top of the bridge were evacuated from their cars. Police went back and forth and gave the drivers water and took some back to East Bay Street to use the bathroom.

"We're just thankful that it ended peacefully," said Charleston Police Department spokesman Charles Francis.

DeClemente was a former Charleston County volunteer rescue squad member, but has not been an active member for at least a year. Last year, he was arrested and charged with stalking, assault and battery.

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