Retired journalist, 77, plunges to dying from Wisconsin drawbridge


A 77-year-old vacationer died this week when the drawbridge he was strolling throughout opened, sending him plunging to his dying.

Richard Dujardin of Windfall, Rhode Island, was strolling throughout the bridge close to Kilbourn Avenue and Riverwalk Stroll in Milwaukee Monday when it started to rise.

“The lights, bells, and arms got here down at every finish of the bridge, nonetheless, Richard was arduous of listening to and it’s thought that he didn’t discover them,” the medical expert’s report stated. Dujardin was additionally an iPad as he walked.

“When [the bridge] began to rise [Dujardin] panicked and grabbed onto the facet rail,” the report continued. He held on to the railing for one to 2 minutes earlier than he misplaced his grip and fell about 70 ft.

Richard Dujardin plunged to his dying after a drawbridge started to rise whereas he was on it.
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The bridge operator has been suspended, as is local policy.
Dujardin is believed to haven’t seen the lights flashing on the bridge as he was on his iPad whereas strolling.

Police carried out CPR on the scene, however have been unable to revive Dujardin, who died of extreme head trauma.

Dujardin’s spouse, Rose-Marie, was additionally on the scene, having crossed the bridge earlier than her husband. She advised authorities that the couple arrived in Milwaukee on Friday for a convention, and have been on their method to midday Mass at Saint Mary’s Catholic Church earlier than flying house later that day.

Milwaukee’s drawbridges are operated remotely utilizing two dwell video cameras. In keeping with the medical expert’s report, operators are instructed to examine the cameras earlier than opening the bridge.

“[Dujardin] carrying darkish coloured clothes, and the railing of the bridge is darkish inexperienced,” the report famous.

Police confirmed Wednesday that the incident stays underneath investigation. The bridge operator, who has not been named, has been positioned on go away, based on customary apply, and might be supplied counseling. 

“We on the Division of Public Works ship our deepest sympathy to the household and mates who misplaced their liked one from a tragic occasion on the Kilbourn Avenue Bridge on Monday,” interim Public Works Commissioner Jerrel Kruschke stated in an announcement.

“Our worker through the time of the incident was absolutely skilled and in his fourth 12 months as a bridge operator having carried out tons of of bridge openings.”

Dujardin’s premature dying despatched shockwaves by the Windfall neighborhood, the place he spent 47 years as a faith reporter for the Windfall Journal. A religious Catholic, he penned 1000’s of articles on matters starting from the naming of latest popes to the affect of Saddam Hussein’s invasion of Kuwait on Rhode Island’s Muslin neighborhood.

In a tribute revealed by the Journal on Wednesday, Windfall rabbi Les Gutterman praised Dujardin’s “means to pay attention deeply” and the way he “all the time generously captured his topics.”

Dujardin retired from the Journal in 2013. In 2015, he acquired the William A. Reed Lifetime Achievement Award from the Faith Newswriters Affiliation.

Richard and Rosemarie Dujardin
Richard Dujardin, right here with spouse Rose-Marie, was strolling throughout the bridge when it started to rise.
Household picture

Along with his spouse of 54 years, Dujardin leaves behind six youngsters and 9 grandchildren. 

Dujardin’s son Peter, additionally a journalist, paid tribute to his “superior dad” in a Fb put up, saying his father was a lifelong “information junkie” who recommended his youngsters to stay “near God.”

Members of the Milwaukee Division of Public Works and Police Division couldn’t be reached for remark.

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