Reporting Susan-Elizabeth Littlefield
MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — A University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire student is still missing after falling into the Chippewa River from the university’s footbridge, according to police.
On Friday night, officers said David Rodgers, 20, was on the bridge that connects campus to the downtown area when he fell into the river.
The student, 20-year-old David Patrick Rodgers from Northfield, Minn., was reported as missing from his on-campus residence hall. Investigation revealed witnesses last saw Rodgers on the footbridge.
Freshman Jesse Kreger said he happened to be on the bridge when Rodgers fell.
“We pretty much were walking across the bridge and I saw this guy straddling the railing and I was like, ‘this better not be what I think it is,’” said Kreger.
What happened next, Kreger said, shook him to the core. He said he saw Rodgers, a student he did not know personally, fall into the water.
“I didn’t believe what I was seeing. I was like ‘no, you’re not.’ That’s why I immediately didn’t start sprinting over there. I thought it was some guy messing around,” Kreger said.
Kreger said he saw Rodgers grab onto the railing before falling into the rushing water below.
Officers say once they got the call, they started the search. However, with waters so high, the nearby bike paths are covered, firefighters called off Sunday’s search early.
Authorities said they’ll keep combing the river into the week in hopes of figuring out how it happened.
Rodgers’ family has been contacted and has asked for privacy during this time.
Anyone with information about Rodgers’ whereabouts is asked to call the UW-Eau Claire Police Department at 715-836-2222.