Cold Spring Bridge

Paul Wellman

Cold Spring Bridge

Authorities Investigate Possible Suicide From Cold Spring Bridge

Body of 47-Year-Old Man Discovered Below Span Sunday Morning

Monday, July 8, 2013
Article Tools
Print friendly
E-mail story
Tip Us Off
iPod friendly
Share Article

Authorities are investigating the circumstances that led to the the death of 47-year-old Gilbert Herrera whose body was found Sunday morning in a creek bed below Cold Spring Bridge.

Sheriff’s spokesperson Kelly Hoover said her office received a report Saturday evening that a person may have jumped from the span, which is around 420 feet tall and overlooks the Santa Ynez Valley. She explained the CHP had towed Herrera’s car parked near the bridge at around 7 p.m., and that family members had not seen him for several days. A missing person report was filed, but with night coming and visibility dropping, a search wasn’t started until the next morning.

At around, 11:15 a.m., deputies accompanied by members of the Sheriff’s Search and Rescue team found Herrera’s body. Hoover declined to confirm his death was the result of suicide, explaining the investigation into the incident continues.

More than 50 people have jumped to their deaths from Cold Spring Bridge since it was built in 1963. A mesh barrier meant to deter potential suicides was installed along its sides in March 2012 after protracted legal battles between Caltrans and Friends of the Bridge, a small but vocal group that contented the barrier would block valley views. Saturday’s death would be the second suicide from the bridge since the barrier was installed. The last one took place in September 2012.

If you or someone you know is contemplating suicide, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (273-8255). The number is toll-free and services are available 24/7.


Independent Discussion Guidelines

I wonder if it makes it harder for a potential rescue because the barrier blocks access to person of concern, or if once on the other side .. sad.
In terms of views, you're supposed to be looking at the road not the vista. They ticket people for texting and talking after all.

Ken_Volok (anonymous profile)
July 8, 2013 at 5:59 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Ken - Passengers like the views too; not just drivers !

BeckyBee (anonymous profile)
July 8, 2013 at 7:45 p.m. (Suggest removal)

If it was not for the artificial bridge, there would be no artificial view ...for 6 seconds?

foofighter (anonymous profile)
July 8, 2013 at 8:17 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Gilbert was a sweet guy who could make a guitar sing. Such a painful loss.

leticia (anonymous profile)
July 8, 2013 at 9 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Maybe they should just build a dam, divert some water and voila instant reservoir and fishing, no more jumpers.

Ken_Volok (anonymous profile)
July 8, 2013 at 10:05 p.m. (Suggest removal)

He was a sweet guy and a fine musician. I'm glad to have worked with him and wished we'd done more. Rest in peace, friend.

nelsonjazz (anonymous profile)
July 8, 2013 at 10:49 p.m. (Suggest removal)

What a tragic testament to the arrogance and foolishness of those who insisted on spending millions of dollars on the boondoggle of the barrier when that money could have gone to mental health intervention that might have saved the two lives (and counting) of those who have jumped from the bridge since that barrier was put up.

billclausen (anonymous profile)
July 9, 2013 at 3:48 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Bill, band-aids are all the rage even on bridges, didn't you hear?

dou4now (anonymous profile)
July 9, 2013 at 8:09 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Oh no, no more dams will EVER be built. In fact, the Southern California Steelhead Recovery Plan calls for several existing dams to be removed at an enormous cost to taxpayers.

Furthermore, in 50 or 75 years when Cachuma is completely filled with sediment, that's it - there is no fix. It is estimated that dredging the lake would be a project on the level of building the Giza pyramids. And raising the dam is almost certainly verboten because then those poor homesick Rainbow trout won't be able to get home to spawn.

spiritwalker (anonymous profile)
July 9, 2013 at 9:31 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Isn't it wonderful that we taxpayers spent $millions to construct an ugly suicide barrier that doesn't work?

JohnLocke (anonymous profile)
July 9, 2013 at 10:09 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Actually, the county Grand Jury should or somebody should investigate that cost - I don't know much about construction costs, but it seems impossible that maybe a thousand feet of what appears to be chain link fence could cost "millions" to install.

spiritwalker (anonymous profile)
July 9, 2013 at 10:22 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Preventing or at least deterring people from jumping from the middle of the bridge, making search and rescue efforts more treacherous is a priceless advantage even if the entire length of the barrier is not foolproof.

So far I believe the two deaths took place from the far ends of the barrier, making search and rescue more accessible and less unsafe for these volunteers who undertake this grim task.

foofighter (anonymous profile)
July 9, 2013 at 11:54 a.m. (Suggest removal)

How very sad. Gil used to come on my Sierra Club hikes. He was pleasant and a good hiker, helpful to others.

I feel especially sad that I did not know he was having problems. We each live our lives and are not always sensitive to picking up on cues that might let us reach out to those in need.

sbrobert (anonymous profile)
July 9, 2013 at 12:03 p.m. (Suggest removal)

On the one hand you have liberation from the painful repercussions of freefall and an attractive but short-lived experience of glory, and on the other hand a permanent solution to a temporary problem. Bridge barriers don't apply to Santa Barbara's many cliffs, so screw the glory and keep the barriers, right?

Adonis_Tate (anonymous profile)
July 9, 2013 at 6:56 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Gilbert played beautiful music. He played for weddings. Provided happiness for a lot of people

tomtowle (anonymous profile)
July 9, 2013 at 9:35 p.m. (Suggest removal)

I agree with billcllausen and JohnLocke that this was a complete waste of taxpayer dollars. Anyone who thought this ugly fence would deter suicides didn't have both oars in the water.

'It is estimated that dredging the lake would be a project on the level of building the Giza pyramids."
-- spiritwalker

Whoever made that estimate was also not rowing in a straight line. The Giza complex took about 10,000 workers over 30 years to build. Scooping out Cachuma wouldn't be near as difficult although it might take 30 years to get the EIR approved.

SezMe (anonymous profile)
July 10, 2013 at 1:48 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Maybe they post sentries at either end to hold people's hands as they cross the bridge.
I think a lot of barrier supporters are dealing with the understandable but ultimately erroneous guilt over the suicides of loved ones.
Maybe the silt from Cachunma can form the basis of the new dam.

Ken_Volok (anonymous profile)
July 10, 2013 at 2:52 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Man, you barrier supporters will do anything to avoid admitting you were wrong.

foofighter, the suicides couldn't have taken place from the ends of the barrier, since the drop is only a couple of feet.

eightdolphins (anonymous profile)
July 10, 2013 at 9:02 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Oh jeepers, are we splitting hairs or just being as dumb as a bag of rocks here? The News Press had an article about the silting of Cachuma, and never mind the details, the conclusion was that cleaning out the sediment simply wasn't doable, okay?

spiritwalker (anonymous profile)
July 10, 2013 at 9:15 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Here is a photo of Gil that I took when he came on my Gibraltar Rock hike in February.

Sad that someone as pleasant and gifted as him could feel so alone as to want to commit suicide.

sbrobert (anonymous profile)
July 10, 2013 at 11:20 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Only the government can build a chain-link fence that costs millions of dollars.

Now they want to spend over a million dollars to build a round-about at an intersection...

loonpt (anonymous profile)
July 10, 2013 at 11:37 a.m. (Suggest removal)

The Giza complex was obviously facilitated and aided by our Space Bro's....and I'm an Archaeologist who's supposed to stick within the parameters of Academia.

My heart goes out to the family and friends of Gil and hope they will find solace in knowing that only oneself can find happiness within, and often in the depths of depression, few people truly do not wish to burden those whom they love the most. May his spirit and all whom have taken their owns find peace.

I am a strong advocate that we personally have the choice to live, to heal or to move on. Energy moves on.

cinderella (anonymous profile)
July 10, 2013 at 3:40 p.m. (Suggest removal)

event calendar sponsored by: