Man who fell from Purdon Crossing bridge faces charges |

Man who fell from Purdon Crossing bridge faces charges

A young man who fell from the bridge at Purdon Crossing on his birthday faces charges of attempted murder and assault with the intent to do great bodily injury.

Casey L. Hendrick, 20, of Nevada County, allegedly held a woman’s head under the water until her boyfriend fought him off and she escaped, according to Anna Ferguson, assistant district attorney.

“He attempted to drown a female victim in the water,” contended Ferguson, who filed the charges against Hendrick at Nevada County Superior Court. “The victim was very lucky she escaped without physical injuries.”

The alleged incident occurred June 9 in one of the pools at the popular swimming spot.

Ferguson encouraged anyone who was at Purdon Crossing and Mother’s Beach that day who has additional information about the events surrounding the attempted drowning to call Ranger Mike Smittle at the South Yuba River State Park, 432-2546.

Six witnesses

The D.A.’s office based the charges on statements from six witnesses interviewed by investigators, South Yuba State Parks Lt. Jeremy McReynolds said.

The victim and her boyfriend did not know Hendrick, whose fall at the bridge was unrelated, Ferguson said.

The time frame of events, whether Hendrick was alone or with friends, and whether Hendrick was intoxicated at the time still is being investigated, she said.

The court has set no arraignment date and has not issued an arrest warrant because Hendrick still is recovering from injuries caused from falling 30 feet from the bridge onto the rocks below.

A CALSTAR helicopter flew him to Sutter Roseville Medical Center after the fall.

The hospital released him, but spokeswoman Robin Montgomery would not say when, citing patient confidentiality laws.

“(Hendrick) appears to be recovering well,” Ferguson said, though he faces “health hurdles.”

He resides in Nevada County, McReynolds said.

Hendrick “broke most of the bones in his lower extremities,” said Battalion Chief Vern Canon of Nevada County Consolidated Fire, who was on the scene.

Trash worries residents

Residents near Purdon Crossing and Edwards Crossing have complained to county and state officials about juveniles leaving trash, drinking alcohol and starting fires at both locations, McReynolds said.

State parks personnel met Tuesday night with residents along Lake Vera Purdon Road to address their concerns, he said.

Rangers will be “putting out a more concerted effort” to remedy the vandalism and illegal drinking in the area, McReynolds said. Six rangers patrol 20 miles of river.

“We’re going to have more of a presence,” he said. “We will do more focused patrol at peak use times.”

New, permanent signs prohibiting campfires and alcohol are planned, McReynolds said.

The primitive dirt roads in the area also hinder emergency vehicles responding to incidents such as the June 9 event, he said.

“It was definitely difficult when they were turning the emergency vehicle around,” McReynolds said. “There’s only room wide enough for one fire engine.”

Swimmers should refrain from drinking and drug use to cut down on accidents at the river, officials said.


To contact Staff Laura Brown, e-mail or call 477-4231. To contact Staff Writer Robyn Moormeister, e-mail or call 477-4236.

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