Teen who pushed her friend off a 60ft bridge could be jailed for a year after reckless endangerment charge
The charge of reckless endangerment is considered in US law to be a gross misdemeanor that could land the person in prison for a year and a maximum fine of $5,000
The 18-year-old girl who pushed her friend off a 60ft bridge in Washington state, which left the teen with multiple injuries, has been formally charged with one count of reckless endangerment. The prosecutors filed the charge on August 17 with a declaration from the arresting officer showing probable cause.
One part of the statement said: "It is clear that Taylor Smith engaged in conduct which created a substantial risk of death and resulted in serious physical injury to Jordan Holgerson." The charge of reckless endangerment is a gross misdemeanor that could land the person in prison for a year and a maximum fine of $5,000.
Smith told ABC News in an interview: "I accept the charges maturely and all I can do is hope for the best for Jordan and myself." Smith pushed 16-year-old Holgerson off a bridge over the Lewis River at Moulton Falls Regional Park close to Vancouver, Washington, on August 7. The teen fell the equivalent of three stories before she belly-flopped into the river below. Officials said that she suffered "significant injuries" that included six broken ribs, a punctured lung, and air bubbles in her chest.
The horrific incident was caught on a cell phone camera and went viral on social media after it was uploaded. The user who put it up has since removed it. There is also surveillance footage of the moment that Smith pushed Holgerson off the ledge of the bridge.
According to the complaint that was filed in the Clark County District Court, Holgerson told the authorities later that Smith had been the one who pushed her off the bridge and that it was uncalled for. Smith has admitted to pushing her friend off the ledge, but told police that she did it to help Holgerson get over her fear and did not intend to hurt her.
On August 17, Smith sat down with ABC News's "Good Morning America" for an interview and said that she did not think of the consequences of her actions before she pushed her friend off the bridge. She told GMA co-anchor Michael Strahan: "She wanted to jump and she was scared and she had asked me to give her a push, and I didn't think about the consequences. I thought she would be fine."
Holgerson spoke to KATU, an affiliate of ABC Portland, Oregon, from her hospital bed and recalled the sequence of events that led up to her being pushed and she admitted that she had initially wanted to jump after she saw a friend doing it earlier. She said in the August 9 interview: "I went to the top of the bridge and my other –- my friend ... she came up to the bridge with me. And so, she was counting down but I didn’t think anything of it. And I was like, 'No, don’t count down, like, I won’t go if you countdown. I’m not ready.' And then she pushed me."
Holgerson told the news channel that she did not feel any pain at the time after adrenaline immediately kicked in when she hit the water. She said: "And then an EMT that was off-duty helped me on to the rocks and just a whole bunch of people surrounding me were helping me, calming me down. I am happy to be OK."
Smith told GMA in her interview on August 17 that she reached out to Holgerson immediately after the incident and "apologized several times". She said that she had even tried to visit her friend in the hospital where she was being treated but that she was "asked to leave". The 18-year-old told the channel that Holgerson has stopped communicating with her ever since the incident.
She also said that the two of them had been "pretty close" for years before the incident. During the interview, Smith said: "I love that girl. I never intended to hurt her ever, nor would I intend to hurt anyone. I'm really sorry it turned out that way. I just pray that she heals and gets better."
Investigators from the Clark County Sheriff's Office finished their investigation of the incident earlier in the week and submitted their findings to the prosecutors who then announced the charge of reckless endangerment on the afternoon of August 17.
Smith also told GMA that the possibility of facing charges was "scary" but that she would "accept whatever the prosecutor gives me". She said: "I accept whatever the prosecutors think is best for me, considering I caused not only bodily harm but emotional trauma as well. But I just hope for the best."