HOULTON, Maine — Recent rainfall is credited as a factor in saving a woman from severe injury or death early Thursday after she fell, intoxicated, from a local bridge.
Houlton Police Chief Butch Asselin said that Sarah Ambrose, 37, of Houlton will face charges stemming from the incident, which occurred just after 6:30 a.m.
Asselin said Ambrose and a friend visited the trestle bridge, still used occasionally by trains to cross the Meduxnekeag River between Florence Avenue and Mill Street.
Ambrose was sitting on the bridge dangling her feet over the edge when she decided to try to drop down about 5 feet to the top of a concrete support pier, according to Asselin. But Ambrose either missed the 2-foot-wide section of pier or couldn’t stay on after she landed, and ended up falling 30 to 40 feet into the fast moving water, which was 5 or 6 feet deep at the time because of recent rain.
Someone heard the woman calling for help and contacted police. The Houlton Fire Department and the Police Department responded.
Ambrose managed to swim to the Mill Street side of the river where firefighters helped her out of the water.
There were no apparent injuries or complaint of pain but the officers recommended that Ambrose be taken to Houlton Regional Hospital for an examination.
Investigating police Officer Ezekiel Collins and Stephen Nason said that Ambrose was intoxicated and uncooperative, but did go to the hospital.
Officers said that the depth and flow of the river helped save Ambrose from severe injury or death.
Asselin said the trestle bridge has a catwalk on one side for maintenance and is not authorized for pedestrian use.
The chief said he expected charges would be filed against both Ambrose and her companion.