Teen 'vaults' off bridge to his death as deputy tries to arrest him

COOS BAY, Ore. - A teen jumped off the McCullough Bridge and fell to his death as a Coos County Deputy tried to arrest him Thursday afternoon.

Leon Williams Jr., 18, fell 90 feet and hit a temporary construction bridge, said Paul Frasier, the Coos County district attorney.

If the bridge hadn't been there, Williams would have landed in Coos Bay, Frasier said.

Investigators are uncertain whether Williams died while trying to escape or if he intended to take his own life.

"Where he thought he was going to hit water and get away," Frasier said, "or if this was a suicide, we don't know at this point.

Williams was wanted on a warrant for absconding from the supervision by the Oregon Youth Authority for juvenile convictions.

An OYA officer had tried to take Williams into custody, but Williams got away, Frasier said.

The officer called for assistance, and a Coos County deputy responded to the bridge.

The deputy spotted Williams walking on the bridge.

As the deputy turned on his overhead lights and exited the car, 18-year-old Leon Williams Jr. placed both hands on the top rail and "vaulted" over the edge.

"Before the officer could physically take him into custody, the individual went over the side," Frasier said. "The officer tried to stop him but was not far enough or was not close enough to grab him before he jumped over."

The investigation slowed traffic in both directions, but the bridge remained open.

Frasier said he asked the sheriff's office to turn over the scene to state and local police to investigate.