JAMES ISLAND, S.C. (WCSC) - A James Island woman who lost her son to suicide four years ago is again asking officials to place higher barriers on the Ravenel Bridge.
Jules Mappus jumped to his death from the southbound lane of the bridge in February 2015.
Since it opened in 2005, 32 people have committed suicide by jumping off the Ravenel Bridge. That includes three suicides from the bridge so far this year.
Butler Mappus has been keeping track of the numbers since her son’s suicide.
Jules jumped to his death from the southbound lane. There is no barrier there.
After her son’s death, Mappus asked the state Department of Transportation to put up a barrier on that side and raise the height of the barrier on the northbound side.
That didn’t happen.
“Since that time people contacted me, other parents who have lost children, brothers who have lost sisters and so people find myself associated with the Ravenel Bridge and suicide because I’ve spoken out about it before,” Mappus said Monday.
Now she’s talking about her son’s death again and again pushing for a higher barrier on the northbound side of the bridge.
“From eyewitness accounts, most of the suicides are occurring from the northbound lane where the pedestrian lane is, where individuals can simply walk up and just climb over that. So I think that’s our first fix, fix the existing barrier and make it harder to cross,” Mappus said.
Mappus believes her son could still be alive today if a barrier had been placed on the southbound lane.
“Had there been a barrier, if it were hard to cross over, a police officer may have caught him there,” she said.
State Department of Transportation Secretary of Engineering Leland Colvin said after Mappus’ death, a committee decided to place phones on the pedestrian bridge for anyone who wants to speak to a mental health professional.
Mappus says the barriers are needed to save lives.
“I don’t want another family to have to go through what we’ve been through,” she said.
Mappus planned on making her plea for barriers to the Charleston County Legislative delegation at their meeting Monday night.