Louis Klinger looked distressed as Donna Newman approached while walking the Ringling Bridge Monday morning.
She asked the 63-year-old Lakewood Ranch resident if he was OK, but he told her to leave him alone before getting into his car, driving to the top of the bridge and jumping into Sarasota Bay. He was pronounced dead less than an hour later at Sarasota Memorial Hospital.
Newman and other witnesses described the scene as Klinger climbed over the guardrail on the north side of the iconic bridge then let go at 9:09 a.m. Sarasota Police officers flagged down a passing pontoon boat and recovered his body, which was motionless in the water, according to an incident report.
According to SPD spokeswoman Genevieve Judge, Klinger was allegedly involved in a minor hit-and-run accident with a pedestrian near the intersection of North Tamiami Trail and University Parkway prior to the incident.
Earlier: The Sarasota Police Department has recovered the body of an unidentified man who jumped from the Ringling Bridge before 9:30 a.m. Monday.
The "suicidal subject" was allegedly involved in a hit-and-run accident near the intersection of North Tamiami Trail and University Parkway, after which he fled to the John Ringling Causeway, according to SPD spokeswoman Genevieve Judge. After parking, the man jumped from the north side of the bridge.
The man was somewhere between 40 and 60 years old.