Lehi considers tearing down bridge after teen's death

Lehi officials are considering tearing down a city landmark after a teen was killed after jumping off the Old Iron Bridge on Saturday, July 7, 2018. (Photo: Thor Fiedler, KUTV photographer)

(KUTV) — Lehi City officials are considering tearing down a local bridge after a 16-year-old died jumping from it.

The Lehi City Fire Department said Cole Merrill, of Alpine, did a backflip from the bridge and didn’t resurface. The city is now looking into tearing the structure down.

“We’ve have some people that feel that would be the right action to take," said city administrator Cameron Boyle. "We have residents that feel this was an accident and the bridge should stay."

The old iron bridge along 1500 North and 3150 West has been a popular spot for decades.

“It’s been here as long as I can remember,” Howard Adams said. He lives in American Fork, but said he’s known people who’ve been jumping from the bridge since the 60s.

“There’s kids that come clear from Salt Lake to jump off this,” Adams said.

While he’s never jumped from it himself, the bridge holds many memories for him. He said he’ll support the city if they decide to tear it down.

“Yeah, if it’s going to prevent another death,” he said.

The city is trying to determine who actually owns the bridge before they make any decisions.

“We’re working with the county to find out if the bridge was deeded to Lehi City and, if so, what the possibility of taking down the bridge would be,” Boyle said.

He understands the decision to remove the bridge may be controversial, but the city’s main goal is safety.

“Ultimately, we just want to make sure that our residents in our community and those residents coming in from other communities are safe,” Boyle said.

2News reached out to the Merrill family. They did not want to be interviewed, but Cole’s father, Sam, said the family doesn’t want to see the bridge torn down.

“I hope they don't do that," Merrill said. "It is a great place and, for the most part, I feel safe, good fun. This was a tragic accident, but I know Cole would want everyone to continue to be able to enjoy this and living life to the fullest."

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