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Former Marine credited with saving stadium jumper's life


A distraught woman jumped from the upper deck of the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum Sunday and likely would have died instantly, if not for a Good Samaritan who leaped to break her fall.

The incident happened as the game ended, and thousands of football fans streamed out of the stadium and parking lots.

“We were going on the air as all these people were running by,” sports radio host Chris Townsend said.

Townsend and his crew from 95.7 “The Game” were starting their post-game show when he says chaos erupted. Fans ran past, screaming for help, and screaming in horror.

“You could see people in tears, and see their faces, and know something just awful had happened,” said Townsend.

What they'd witnessed was a young woman on the upper deck ledge, plunge some fifty feet to the pavement below. She had climbed up to a tarped area off-limits to spectators.

Fans who spotted her tried to stop her.

“I yelled at her, ‘Don't do it, please don't do it!’ about ten times. But she crawled out to the edge and jumped,”  said witness Ron Brown of Sacramento. 

Arriving paramedics found the woman in very critical condition, and a man also injured on the concourse where she fell. Initially, they thought she fell on him, but witnesses say he actually jumped to where she was falling, and tried to save her.

 “Very heroically, he tried to catch her, so he got injured in the process, “ Sgt. J.D. Nelson of the Alameda County Sheriff's Department said.

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The man's injuries weren't critical, but enough to keep him in the hospital Sunday night. He is a 61 year old grandfather from Stockton, a Marine Corps veteran, and a lifelong Raiders fan who recently acquired season tickets.      

He told investigators that he and a friend were lingering near the flagpoles and Al Davis commemorative flame when he saw the commotion around the despondent woman. 

When she jumped, he lunged toward her, with no regard for his own safety.

He said afterward, he didn't think about it, but just did it.

The woman he tried to help may not survive her injuries. Authorities are trying to identify her and any friends or family she might have attended the game with.   

 “It's sad and tragic,” added Sgt. Nelson. “Your heart reaches out to both people, the woman who jumped and the man who very heroically tried to save her. You always wonder, why, why would you do that?”



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