A Peoria man drowned May 17 after jumping from a bridge into the Illinois River during the morning rush hour.
Authorities say Shawn R. Talbert, 27, of Peoria, was traveling west on Interstate 74 around 7:15 that morning, stopped his car on the Tazewell County side of the bridge at mile marker 93.5, traversed a concrete barrier and jumped into the river.
Crews from East Peoria and Peoria police and fire departments, the Illinois Department of Natural Resources, the Illinois State Police, the U.S. Coast Guard and the Illinois Army Corps of Engineers assisted in a search for Talbert’s body.
Search teams used sonar to locate Talbert’s body, which was found before noon, about 35 yards south of the bridge.
Traffic on both lanes of the bridge was severely jammed for several hours, with the westbound lane backed up as much as six miles deep with traffic. The Illinois State Police reported a multiple-vehicle accident in the westbound lane as a result of Talbert’s parked car.
According to Tazewell County Coroner Brian Foley, Talbert was pronounced dead at 10:57 a.m. May 17. Preliminary autopsy reports indicate that he died of drowning and toxicology reports are pending.
The incident remains under investigation by the Illinois State Police and the Tazewell County Coroner’s Office.
Assisting with this investigation was the Peoria Fire Department, Peoria Police Department, Peoria County Coroner’s Office, East Peoria Fire Department, Illinois Department of Natural Resource, U.S Army Corps of Engineers, U.S Coast Guard, and the Fondulac Park Police.
— Peoria man jumps to his death off I-74 bridge —