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Family Members Tried to Stop Bridge Jumper

TARRYTOWN, N.Y. – Family members of Scott Uzzo, a 24-year-old Hawthorne resident who police said jumped from the Tappan Zee Bridge Wednesday, rushed to the bridge to stop him from jumping, but arrived too late. Uzzo had told them of his plans earlier, police said.

New York State police said Uzzo was driving northbound on the bridge in a Hyundai Tuscon when he stopped, got out of his car and jumped off at approximately 2:52 p.m.

Uzzo had been in the car by himself, but police said he had made some statements to family members earlier in the day telling them that he was going to jump off the bridge.  Police said family members rushed to the scene after attempting to intercept him, but arrived at the bridge shortly after he had jumped.  The family was able to confirm the identity to police.

Police patrolled the water below the bridge along with assistance from several local fire departments, but later suspended the search due to high winds.  Dive units will be sent back out to resume the search Thursday morning, police said.

Tappan Zee Bridge officials have implemented several measures in recent years to dissuade distressed people from jumping, including placing cellular-based phones connected to a suicide hotline along the bridge and training bridge staff in suicide prevention. Suicide fencing and traffic cameras have also been installed along the bridge.

Despite the efforts, three suicides have been reported at the bridge in 2011, according to the New York State Thruway Authority. There were six attempts, involving seven people but some suicide attempts were thwarted in the process.

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