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Los Angeles

Leap From Bridge Kills Student

Death: A Cal State Long Beach senior and two friends take a late-night plunge. Friends survive.

April 13, 2002|GARIOT LOUIMA | TIMES STAFF WRITER

A Cal State Long Beach student who had been drinking with friends early Friday died after he jumped off a bridge about 30 feet above a marina, authorities said.

Rescue workers pulled Ryan Quintrell's body from Alamitos Bay Marina at 5:25 a.m., more than four hours after he plunged into the murky water.

Quintrell, 21, of Anaheim, had been celebrating a good grade over drinks with friends shortly before he and two other men jumped from Davies Bridge in Long Beach, said Nancy Tabing, a Long Beach police spokeswoman.

Quintrell's friends were not injured, but the college senior, known as a daredevil, died in the water. The cause of death was undetermined Friday, Long Beach authorities said.

"They thought it would be a good idea to jump from the bridge to the waters below," Tabing said. "Unfortunately, it ended in a tragedy."

Quintrell's parents were at the marina at Pacific Coast Highway and 2nd Street when divers pulled their son from the water.

"He was cold. He had been in the water for so long," Beverly Quintrell said of the youngest of her two children. "It was hard looking at him. I hugged him and kissed him and told him I loved him. But he was just so cold."

Quintrell, a business major at Cal State Long Beach, wanted to run his own company, said his father, Michael. He was also interested in computer programming, and was a skilled surfer and snowboarder.

"He was a pretty easygoing, good-natured kid," said Michael Quintrell. "He was quiet, had a real good heart and was the first one to reach out and give someone a handshake or a hug."

Authorities said diving from city bridges has become a regular and dangerous pastime for some area teens and young adults.

"It's illegal, but they think it's some kind of thrill," said Lifeguard Chief Mark Boone of the Long Beach Fire Department. Usually, he said, the stunt ends in chastisement by lifeguards who patrol the waters.

Beverly Quintrell said she did not know whether her son had jumped from the bridge before. She said she could never have prepared herself for the pain of losing a child who was so young.

"He was an active kid," she said. "He made a bad decision last night and it cost him his life."

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