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South Union Street bridge jumper dies

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Posted: Friday, January 24, 2014 10:20 am

OLEAN — The woman who jumped off the South Union Street bridge into the icy Allegheny River late Wednesday night died early Thursday. 

Jessica Sweitzer, 28, of 1506 W. Henley St., succumbed to injuries sustained from the incident around 1 a.m. at Olean General Hospital. Police are ruling the death as a suicide. 

“Unfortunately, we’ll never know why this happened. Only Jessica knows that,” said Olean Police Capt. Robert Blovsky said. “Our condolences go out to her family and our prayers are with them. I wish there was more we could have done.”

Ms. Sweitzer, an Olean High School and University of Pittsburgh at Bradford, Pa., graduate, leaves behind two children. 

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  • michele EADE posted at 6:40 pm on Tue, Jan 28, 2014.

    mickyeade Posts: 1

    To the OTH editors...this is the tackiest headline I've ever read. You should be ashamed and you owe the Sweitzer family and apology. You're supposed to be a small hometown newspaper, not The National Enquirer!

  • Denae STORMS posted at 6:44 pm on Mon, Jan 27, 2014.

    Denae Posts: 2

    Your caption is callous;detached. We are a small, close knit community! That you have removed it still only further hurts the family and this community. Shame on you!

  • M. L. PLATT posted at 10:49 am on Sat, Jan 25, 2014.

    mlplatt2003 Posts: 1

    Despicable headline...Really!

  • kathy HARDIMAN posted at 8:59 pm on Fri, Jan 24, 2014.

    kalyncoman Posts: 9

    To: Christopher Michel and Jim Eckstrom

    I can understand a feeling of responsibility to cover local tragedies, especially when vehicles like Facebook and WIVB have almost instant coverage. And I know you would not intentionally set out to hurt our citizens.

    However, you made a grave error in the tone and storyline you chose when covering the death of Jessica Sweitzer. And your coverage was very hurtful to family and those who care about Jessica and her children. Her little 10 year old daughter will need to return to school and face the consequences of so many knowing unnecessary distasteful details of her mother's death. The captions were especially unnecessary and hurtful.

    As a mental health counselor, I am suggesting sensitivity trainings or workshops to educate yourselves on mental illness; that is the story line that could have more compassionately been covered.

    We have a beautiful young member of our community who struggled for years to get or keep well. She had just had a baby which predisposed her to postpartum depression. It is a travesty, something we all should grieve. What more can we as a community do to prevent another such heartache - especially with all the cuts in the mental health system.

    A life was lost. A mother, a daughter, a friend, a neighbor, a niece. She wasn't a stranger. She wasn't evil. She wasn't an anti-social personality who preys on others. She was a loving member of our community who was sick, a victim of mental illness and of a failure of adequate treatment, and as such deserved your respect and honor for the loss incurred due to the failure of the system to provide the help she needed.

    My heart and thoughts go out to her loved ones.


    Kathleen Hardiman, LMSW