A woman was seriously injured this morning in a possible suicide attempt that unfolded before a sheriff's officer and two witnesses.
Authorities were called about 10:30 a.m. today to investigate a one-car accident on an overpass spanning the Kansas Turnpike, on Douglas County Road 438 about one-half mile north of Lawrence.
Steve Mesler, Lawrence, made the call after seeing the woman's northbound car strike the west side of the overpass, then careen into the east side before coming to rest just north of the span against the west guardrail.
Mesler said that after he and a friend went to the car and saw that the woman was not hurt, "She gets out of the car and she says, 'It didn't work,' or something to that effect." He said he believed the woman had tried to drive her car off the overpass.
Mesler said that as he waited with a friend for a sheriff's officer to arrive, the woman made several statements that led him to believe she was trying to kill herself.
When a sheriff's officer arrived and called out to the woman, Mesler said, she began walking toward the overpass.
"She (the officer) was saying 'Stop! Stop! Come here!'" Mesler said. "But the more she tried to get her to stop, the ... faster she (the woman) started walking."
Mesler said the woman jumped off the bridge and landed on the north edge of the turnpike's westbound lanes. A westbound motorist narrowly missed the woman's body, he said.
The woman was taken by Douglas County Ambulance Service paramedics to Lawrence Memorial Hospital, where she remained late this morning awaiting a helicopter transfer to another hospital.
Douglas County Sheriff Loren Anderson said officers had not determined whether the incident was a suicide attempt. Anderson said the identity of the woman was not being released pending notification of relatives.