NCPD: Man pushed co-worker off Westmoreland Bridge, then jumped

CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - Law enforcement agencies searched over the weekend for a man in the waters under the Westmoreland Bridge after two men went over the side of the bridge on Friday morning.

North Charleston police say one male pushed his co-worker off the Westmoreland Bridge around 7:45 a.m., and then jumped into the Ashley River after him.

Police say the two men were traveling together in the westbound lanes on the Westmoreland Bridge when the driver pulled over claiming there was a problem with a trailer they were pulling. According to the incident report, the passenger, who is 19, told police that when he got out to check on the driver, the driver grabbed him around the lower part of the legs. The passenger said he thought the driver was joking initially, but that the driver picked him up and began to throw him over the bridge. The passenger attempted to hang on but the driver continued to push until the passenger's hands broke free of the bridge railing and he dropped into the water below, police say. The driver then jumped into the water as well, the passenger told police.

Once both were in the water, the driver attempted to reach out and grab the passenger, who immediately began swimming away from him, the report states. The passenger told police the driver was splashing in the water and was swimming away toward the West Ashley side of the river near the reeds, and that this was the last the passenger saw of him.

The man told police he and the driver had not really talked before the incident took place and had worked together without incident for the last two weeks. There was no detailed dispute between the two prior to the incident, the report states.

Officials say the passenger was rescued and transported to the hospital where he is in good condition. The search for the driver was called for the day around 3 p.m. on Friday and continued over the weekend.

Charleston County Consolidated Dispatch confirms North Charleston Police and Fire Departments, Charleston County EMS and Rescue, and the Coast Guard are assisting in the incident.

When police first arrived, they saw the passenger floating in the water but did not see the driver. By the time responding officers arrived at docks near Riverie Townhomes, the passenger had been pulled from the water by a commercial fisherman who brought him to the dock, the report states.

The passenger told police who the driver was and confirmed his identity when police showed a DMV photo of the man, but police have not yet released his identity.

A search by an airboat in the area of the marsh did not turn up any sign of the driver or any signs of him having left the river from that area, the report states.

One westbound lane on the Westmoreland Bridge was shut down while crews responded to the scene.

The driver's work boots were found floating in the river, but the driver has still not been found.

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