2:57 PM:The California Highway Patrol is recommending the filing of trespassing charges by the San Francisco District Attorney’s Office against the Windsor High School student who jumped from the Golden Gate Bridge Thursday morning.
The teen who survived the 11 a.m., 220-foot fall from the South Tower area of the bridge has been identified by friends on social media sites as 17-year-old Luhe “Otter” Vilagomez. School officials and the CHP have not confirmed his identity.
Frederic Lecouturier, the 45-year-old San Rafael surfer who recovered the teen from the water and paddled him to the Fort Point shore on his board, said the teen told him he jumped “for kicks.”
CHP Officer Chris Rardin said the misdemeanor trespassing charge entails climbing any rail, cable, suspender rope, tower or superstructure not intended for public use.
The offense is punishable by up to a year in county jail, a fine up to $10,000, or both.
Rardin said the CHP does not believe the teen intended to commit suicide, but wants to ensure he is not at risk for further incidents.
“For that reason, the CHP Marin Area is recommending a medical/psychiatric evaluation by medical professionals,” Rardin said.
The teen was taken to San Francisco General Hospital. Rardin said there was no update today on his condition or whereabouts.
Windsor High School principal Mark Elin told two reporters who visited the campus this morning there is no indication from the other students who were on the field trip with the teen to San Francisco Thursday that the jump was a prank or was done on a dare.
The teen recently moved to the Windsor area and has attended Windsor High School since January, Elin said.
The 45 students in the school’s CORE humanities’ studies program were walking along the bridge before visiting the de Young museum, Windsor Unified School District Interim Superintendent William McDermott said.
Student Garrett Molsberry said this afternoon, “Everyone who heard the story or saw him jump said he did it for fun. He said he jumped off bridges before.”
Another student named Sean said, “No one egged him on.”
Molsberry, 16, said he was told four students tried to grab “Otter’s” arm but “he pulled off his shirt and hopped off the bridge.”
One student sitting in the lobby of the high school office said Elin instructed students not to talk about the incident.
Elin would not allow reporters to interview the students on campus and directed them to the sidewalk in front of the school.
The students are prohibited from leaving school during lunch but some agreed to be interviewed on the sidewalk.
James Lanaras, Bay City News
11:44 AM: The Windsor High School student who survived a jump from the Golden Gate Bridge Thursday morning said he “did it for kicks,” the surfer who pulled him from the water said this morning.
Frederic Lecouturier, 55, of San Rafael, said he was beneath the east side of the bridge looking up toward the west when he saw the teen’s body fall into the ocean about 25 yards away.
“I said, oh, shit, this guy’s dead,” Lecouturier said.
The teen has not been identified by the Windsor Unified School District or the California Highway Patrol, but friends on Twitter and Facebook said it is Luhe “Otter” Vilagomez, a 17-year-old junior.
He was among 45 students who were on a school field trip to the de Young Museum in San Francisco. The trip included a walk along the bridge.
The teen jumped around 11 a.m. just south of the South Tower on the San Francisco side of the bridge, the CHP said.
Lecouturier said the teen was about 50 feet from the water when he first saw him. The teen fell feet first and his knees were slightly buckled when he hit the water, Lecouturier said.
The teen surfaced quickly and began swimming, and a strong south wind might have slowed his fall and enabled him to survive, Lecouturier said.
Lecouturier said he removed the teen’s shoes to increase his buoyancy.
“He said he was okay. He said he did it for kicks. I was angry and I went off on him. I said, ‘God gave you life and you’re playing with it like it’s nothing.’ He didn’t say anything,” Lecouturier said.
Lecouturier got the boy onto his 8 feet, 6 inch surfboard and they both paddled toward Fort Point where emergency responders were already waiting, Lecouturier said.
The teen was taken to San Francisco General Hospital. The Windsor school district said he did not suffer severe injuries.
The teen is less than five feet tall and weighs about 120-125 pounds, Lecouturier said.
“He’s muscular, fit and light. A 200-pound boy would have drowned,” Lecouturier said.
“He’s a nice kid but all these kids live in virtual reality. They see people jumping from buildings and bridges and surviving. What was this kid thinking?” said Lecouturier, who is the father of two teens.
“I don’t think he wanted to die,” Lecouturier said.
When they were near the emergency responders on the shore and away from the 6- to 8-feet waves, Lecouturier said he asked the teen again if he was all right.
“He said, ‘not really,’” Lecouturier said.
James Lanaras, Bay City News