Woman on bike falls into open span on Menasha bridge

Woman on bike falls into open span on Racine Street Bridge on July 4, 2018. (WLUK)

MENASHA, Wis. (WLUK) -- A bicycle rider in Menasha has quite the story after Wednesday’s Fourth of July fireworks celebrations. Her ride home took a dangerous turn.

The 37-year-old woman was hurt, police say, when she pedaled right past crossing gates on a lift bridge.

Authorities say the Menasha woman was riding her bike as the bridge was opening. Witnesses say the woman was going fast and rode in between and past the crossing gates.

“My husband had yelled out the window, 'You better slow down, the bridge is open!' and she just didn't slow down," said Amber Minton, a driver who was stopped at the bridge at the time of the incident.

The woman then fell into the gap between the bridge approach area and the bridge span. Bridge tenders were made aware of the incident and didn't move the span until the area was clear.

Although they have no medical records yet to support it, police believe alcohol may have played a role in the incident, because the woman admitted to having been drinking.

"She obviously saw the gates enough to navigate around them, but maybe because alcohol impairs judgement, she didn't realize the danger that was associated with it and made a poor choice,” City of Menasha Police Department community liaison specialist John Wallschlaeger said.

Minton, a trained CPR technician, along with a few other good Samaritans, came to the bicyclist's aid and helped free her and her bike. They continued care until police arrived.

“You just do it,” Minton said. “I mean, (it’s) not much more than just doing what you gotta do."

Police say while several good Samaritans came out to help the woman, only one actually jumped in to pull her out.

"There were other people there; they didn't jump in that trench,” Wallschlaeger said. “And so, this person went over and above and beyond, and we're thankful for that. It speaks highly to the community, you know, the Fox Cities, and a person's willingness to put themselves in danger to render aid like that."

According to police, the woman's bicycle kept her from falling through and into the river. They say it may have been what saved her life.

The woman was take to the hospital where she was treated partially for facial injuries.

The incident remains under investigation.

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