Here’s why northbound I-5 near Sunset Drive was backed up on Wednesday afternoon

Washington State Department of Transportation

Traffic was briefly backed up in the northbound lane of Interstate 5 near Sunset Drive as Bellingham fire and police responded to a report of a woman jumping from a footbridge in the area on Wednesday, May 8.

The incident occurred shortly before 1:25 p.m. Wednesday. The woman reportedly landed on the shoulder of the highway, south of Sunset Drive, according to unverified emergency radio reports, and suffered a fractured ankle.

The footbridge is on the south side of Memorial Park, according to Bill Hewett, interim chief for the Bellingham Fire Department.

Hewett said an injured person was taken to St. Joseph hospital in Bellingham, but didn’t specify the gender. Hewett also said he couldn’t discuss injuries because of patient privacy laws.

It was the second time in three days that someone jumped from a bridge in the area.

On Monday, May 6, southbound I-5 was closed briefly at about noon, after a woman reportedly jumped onto the freeway from the Sunset Drive overpass. Washington State Patrol Trooper Heather Axtman said then that the woman tried to kill herself.

That woman may have sustained a leg injury and possible head injuries, according to radio reports.

Bellingham Police Lt. Claudia Murphy told The Bellingham Herald that the two incidents were not related and involved two different people.

Kie Relyea has been a reporter at The Bellingham Herald since 1997 and currently writes about social services and recreation in Whatcom County. She started her career in 1991 as a reporter and editor in Northern California.