CHESTER, W.Va. - The hunt for the suspect in a violent domestic assault in Chester came to an abrupt end Tuesday afternoon when the suspect jumped off the Jennings Randolph Bridge into the Ohio River.
The suspect's name is not being released pending notification of family members.
Hancock County Sheriff Mike White said the suspect, described as being in his early 50s, had attacked his wife with a pipe shortly after 4 p.m. She was able to escape to a neighbor's house after their adult son intervened. Neighbors tended to the injuries of the mother and son, and called 911 as the suspect fled the scene.
Morning Journal/Richard Sberna
River rescue units from Chester and Newell volunteer fire departments search the Ohio River for signs of the body of a man who jumped from the Jennings Randolph Bridge late Tuesday afternoon.
According to White, Chester police officers saw the suspect's truck headed west on U.S. Route 30 toward the bridge, but had to turn around in order to pursue him. Once on the bridge, they found his truck abandoned on the right-side shoulder.
"The truck was parked and he was nowhere in sight," White said.
A passing motorist witnessed the suspect stop his truck, exit the vehicle and jump off the bridge, the sheriff said.
Chester and Newell firefighters were called immediately to conduct the water search.
White said eyewitness testimony and evidence found at the scene led police to the conclusion that the man did not survive.
Firefighters "deployed some boats in the water in an attempt to do a rescue, but that became a recovery at this time," he said.
Efforts to drag the river were started, but had to be called off as darkness fell. White says efforts to locate the body will resume this morning.
The suspect's wife and son were taken by ambulance to East Liverpool City Hospital for what White described as significant but non-life-threatening injuries. Both were treated and released Tuesday night.