Jimmy Jennings is seen on video jumping from Interstate 10 on Friday into the Atchafalaya River below.
Jennings told KATC-TV he got the idea while he was stranded in standstill traffic on the Atchafalaya Basin Bridge due to a 10-car pileup ahead.
“When I hit the water, my shoulders went up, and I had to start swimming,” Jennings said.
What Jennings didn’t expect was a shoulder injury from the impact of hitting the water. Plus, the strong river current kept him from swimming directly to shore.
Jennings said he was carried away from the bridge until it was out of sight. He ended up treading water for around three hours.
Once on land, he ended up finding an ATV and tried to ride it back to his vehicle, but it turned out that he was on an island.
“We are familiar with the water (and the area), but I don’t think he was prepared for what came with it,” Khory Vaughan, who was also stuck in traffic, told WBRZ-TV. “He treaded water for about three hours and started to lose all strength.”
“I then took a boat around, and rode it until I ran out of water,” Jennings said.
Vaughan said agents with the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries rescued Jennings. Then, deputies from the St. Martin Parish Sheriff’s Office put him in handcuffs.
“I was walking and heard officers come behind me with their guns and told me to put my hands up, but I couldn’t since I hurt my shoulders from the fall,” Jennings said.
Jennings was charged with criminal mischief and criminal trespassing.
He later wrote on Facebook that jumping was a bad decision and he credited rescue crews with saving his life.
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