Tampa Teen Seriously Injured Jumping From Pinellas Bayway Bridge
A Westchase teen, 15 year-old Joey Johnston Jr., was seriously injured after jumping off the Pinellas Bayway Bridge at approximately 6:15 p.m. on Sunday, July 8, 2018.
The approximately 65 foot high bridge is located along the Pinellas Bayway that connects the mainland with St. Pete Beach, just east of the Don CeSar Hotel.
It is reported that the teen jumped from the bridge, attempted a flip, and landed awkwardly on his back as he entered the water.
The injured teen, along with a 16 year-old friend, were retrieved from the water by a TowBoatUS vessel and transported to awaiting fire rescue crews.
Johnston Jr. was then rushed by ambulance to Bayfront Health St. Petersburg. He has since been transferred to Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital with reported paralysis associated with a spinal cord injury.
Many agencies responded to this incident including the Marine Unit from the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office, Sunstar Paramedics, Lealman Fire District, and St. Petersburg Fire Rescue.
The boy’s father, Joey Johnston, worked locally for decades as a sports reporter for Tampa Bay newspapers. In 2017, he was signed as a sideline reporter on gameday for the USF Football radio broadcast.
It is not uncommon for IONTB to receive reports about teens and young adults jumping from numerous bridges throughout the County for thrill seeking purposes. Its increased popularity, may in part be influenced by others that have posted similar acts on social media. Many of these videos have recently surfaced on YouTube.