PORT ANGELES — Police late Monday afternoon identified a 68-year-old Port Angeles man as the person who committed suicide that morning from the Eighth Street bridge that stands 100 feet over Valley Street.
It was the fourth suicide in nine months from the Valley Street bridge and its companion span about three blocks away on Eighth Street, the Tumwater Truck Route bridge.
Sgt. Josh Powless identified the person as Mark A. Pozzie, 68, of Port Angeles.
Powless said Pozzie’s next of kin, who live in unincorporated Clallam County in the Port Angeles area, had been notified.
Pozzie did not have identification on his person and had only cigarettes in his pocket when his body was found in the brush below the bridge at about 10:30 a.m. Monday, police said.
Pozzie had several addresses, and Powless did not know whether he was married or had children.
Port Angeles police Officer Sky Sexton said first responders received the call at 10:17 a.m. that a person had jumped from the span.
Two witnesses reported seeing the man jump over the south edge of the eastern half of the bridge, Sexton said.
Daniel Watson, 24, was driving across the bridge when he saw Pozzie on the south side of the span on the eastern half of the bridge and stopped his car.
Watson got within a few feet of Pozzie, who was straddling the 4-foot, 6-inch railing, Watson said late Monday afternoon.
“I asked him what he was doing,” Watson recalled.
“He said, ‘I’m jumping,’ and there was no way to get to him.”
Pozzie’s body was transported to Harper-Ridgeview Funeral Chapel pending an autopsy.
Watson said that in December he stopped another man from jumping from an Eighth Street bridge who ended up crying in his arms after Watson approached him and kept him from leaping.
“I hate going down Eighth Street now,” Watson said.
It’s hard for Watson to not blame himself for not getting to Pozzie in time, he said.
“I’m still shaking a little bit, but overall, I’m fine.
“I’m surrounding myself with people.”
Pozzie’s death was the fourth suicide from the two Eighth Street bridges since June 4, 2017, and the eighth since the bridges reopened in February 2009 with 4-foot, 6-inch railings.
Taller fencing for the Valley Creek gorge and Tumwater Truck Route bridges should be installed by the end of summer, City Council member Cherie Kidd told the Peninsula Daily News on Friday, a day after $350,000 in state funding was secured for the $1.4 million project.
Bids for the fencing project are due by March 27.
The $350,000 allotment was secured following the efforts of state Sen. Kevin Van De Wege, D-Sequim, state Rep. Steve Tharinger, D-Sequim, and state Rep. Mike Chapman, D-Port Angeles.
They represent the 24th District, which includes Clallam and Jefferson counties and part of Grays Harbor County.
“This is a small investment to protect future loss of life,” Chapman told the Peninsula Daily News on Friday.