Original article no longer available
September 18, 2004
By Jeremy Hudson
Passerby swims across river in attempt to rescue her; victim was taking anti-depressants.
A 34-year-old Crystal Springs woman parked her car on an I-55 bridge over the Pearl River in Jackson and plunged to her death Friday, officials said.
Rebecca Moeller of 15083 New Zion Road was killed about 7 a.m. when she fell onto rocks around the bridge pillars, said Department of Public Safety spokesman Warren Strain.
“She was on severe anti-depressant medication,” said Robert Moeller, Rebecca Moeller’s brother. “About a week ago, she had her prescription changed. She had been up for the past three days straight. Still, none of us expected anything like this.”
The incident had snarled traffic for about two hours as police and rescue workers were called to the scene, officials said. No traffic accidents were reported, officials said.
Anthony Embry of Madison drove past the bridge just as the woman got out of her car.
“I thought it was not very safe for someone to park their car on the bridge like that, so I kept watching her out of my rearview mirror,” said Embry, a human resources and safety manager at ADCAMP Inc. in Flowood. “She didn’t even check up when she got out of her car. She put her right leg over the edge, just like a short fence, and rolled over. She didn’t even stop to question it.”
Embry used his cell phone to call police, then ran down a hill to the river’s edge to drag the woman out of the water, he said. He was met with a high fence, but made his way to the other side of the river, where he saw Rebecca Moeller floating face down, he said.
“I got closer to the bank and I heard this splash over to the side and saw what looked like one of those alligator slides,” Embry said. “But I took off my boots, put my wallet and cell phone in them, and prayed all the way across the river I wasn’t going to cramp up. I just prayed they weren’t going to pull two bodies from the river.”
About 25 emergency workers were there when he pulled her out of the water, he said.
“I just grew up in a family that was taught you help people when you can,” Embry said. “But I’ve been beating myself up all day that I didn’t get to her sooner.”
Robert Moeller said Embry had no reason to feel badly about himself. He hoped to speak with Embry. “I just want to thank him,” Robert Moeller said.