Prosecutors in Washington state on Friday charged 18-year-old Taylor Smith, who they say pushed her friend off a bridge over the Lewis River, with one count of reckless endangerment.
The incident was captured on a cell phone video that went viral.
When Smith’s friend, Jordan Holgerson, 16, hit the water more than 50 feet below, the impact “caused significant injuries to Jordan including six broken ribs, a punctured lung, air bubbles in her chest and significant trauma to larger portions of her skin surface,” according to the probable cause statement.
The penalty for reckless endangerment is up to a year in jail and a maximum fine of $5,000, according to ABC News.
“Based on the information learned in the course of this investigation it is clear that Taylor Smith engaged in conduct which created a substantial risk of death and resulted in serious physical injury to Jordan Holgerson,” the probable cause statement reads.
In an interview on ABC’s “Good Morning America” Friday, Smith said that Holgerson “wanted to jump and she was scared and she had asked me to give her a push, and I didn’t think about the consequences. I thought she would be fine.”
The incident occurred on August 8 when Taylor and several friends drove to Moulton Falls County park in rural Clark County, Washington, according to the probable cause statement.
“While in the park Jordan watched one of her friends jump from a bridge that spans the East Fork of the Lewis River and decided that she wanted to try jumping,” the statement says.
“Jordan, Taylor and two friends climbed to the top of the bridge. Once at the top Jordan hesitated and began to have second thoughts about jumping.
“While standing on the edge Taylor Smith can be seen reaching over the bridge railing and shoving Jordan Holgerson off of the bridge and into the river,” the document reads.
The video, The Columbian reported, showed Holgerson standing on the edge of the bridge in a swimsuit while others look on. Someone starts a countdown, but stops at 2 when someone interrupts.
After a few seconds, a male voice says “Ready?” and a female shoves Holgerson forward off the bridge. She screams, and a male voice can be heard screaming too. She falls and flails, pitched toward her stomach, before she can be heard hitting the water. The camera does not show the impact.
Holgerson cracked five ribs and injured her lungs and throat in the fall, the Longville Daily News reported. The teen was “lucky she is not paralyzed or dead,” a medical assistant at the hospital where she was taken told the paper. She remained in the hospital Tuesday and was stable, KPTV reported.
The teen’s mother told KATU she was angry at the person who pushed her daughter.
“My daughter’s gonna have a long road to recovery and I think that she should probably just turn herself in — realize what she did wrong. This is not okay. She could have killed my daughter,” the teen’s mom told the station.
The teen’s sister told KOIN she knew the person who pushed her, and confronted her on social media.
“She pretty much said that she was sorry for doing it and she wouldn’t have done it if she knew the outcome of it and that she knows it was an absurd thing to do,” the sister told the station. “I think the girl that pushed her should have some sort of consequence because you won’t learn your lesson if you think you can could do that again and think it will be fine.”
Video of the incident went viral across social media, and one version had been seen 2.3 million times as of Friday afternoon.
The Clark County Sheriff’s Office is investigating what happened in the video but would not comment on details, The Columbian reported.
Firefighters told KPTV jumping off the bridge was dangerous and illegal, and that they’d rescued four people so far in the area since summer began.
“You’ve got to land in there just right or you can get hurt,” Fire Chief Ben Peeler told the Columbian after one man injured his back jumping from the bridge in 2017. “Every summer we have a couple of people out there who get hurt, and people do drown.”