Driver leapt 100ft into alligator-infested water in frustration at traffic jam

“Oh my god, this was the stupidest idea,” says Louisiana man who jumped into river during traffic jam

Clara Hill
Tuesday 13 July 2021 14:33
<p>Jimmy Jennings threw himself into alligator-infested waters after becoming increasingly bored with sitting in traffic, a move he instantly regretted</p>

Jimmy Jennings threw himself into alligator-infested waters after becoming increasingly bored with sitting in traffic, a move he instantly regretted

A man has recalled the moment he leapt into an alligator-infested river in Louisiana to escape traffic as “the stupidest idea”.

Jim Ivan Jennings, 26, decided to jump into the Atchafalaya River, which is home to thousands of alligators and a very strong riptide, on Basin Bridge after being stuck on I-10 West following a 10-vehicle pile up.

The moment was caught on video by his friend Khory Vaughn in a 13-second clip, which was shared on Facebook.

Mr Vaughn told WBRZ, “We are familiar with the water (and the area), but I don’t think he was prepared for what came with it”.

He captioned the video of his friend jumping in: “Wtf did I just witness?”

After an extensive search process, involving medical staff and agents from the Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries, Mr Jennings was given a criminal citation by the police.

The LaFayette resident told KATC, “When I hit the water, my shoulder went up, I kind of hurt my shoulder, but I started swimming. I couldn’t get back to the bank because the current was too strong.”

He also told the New York Daily News the rush of emotions was “hectic”.

“I started going under and almost drowned a few times. I really and truly thought it was the end of my time. I asked God for forgiveness. I forgave everyone in my life. It was hectic,” Mr Jennings told the paper.

He recalled thinking at the time of the jump, “Oh my god, this was the stupidest idea.”’

Eventually, he managed to get himself back on dry land before he realised that he was on an island in the middle of the river. Mr Jennings believes he spent between two or three hours in the water.

“I stayed in the water for probably about, I had a watch on, I looked at it, for probably about 2.5 to 3 hours. I thought I was going to die, but God saved me,” Mr Jennings told ABC 13.

Mr Jennings’ said that the process to get back to shore was “crazy” and involved a boat and being checked over by paramedics.

"I was walking and heard officers come behind me with their guns and told me to put my hands up, but I couldn’t since I hurt my shoulders from the fall," Mr Jennings said to the same outlet. "They all had their guns on me. They were telling me to ‘get on the ground, get on the ground.’ So I got on the ground, listened to them, and they put me handcuffs."

According to St Martin’s Parish Sheriff’s Office, Mr Jennings was given citations for criminal mischief and criminal trespassing.

Mr Jennings reflected later on his rash decision making on a post on Facebook. “I was just high on life. Everything was going my way and I’ve seen people do it before only I remembered after I jumped that was in movies,” he wrote.

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