Charges filed after 4-year-old tossed from bridge to river

Video of the Aug. 24 incident was posted to Facebook showing the boy being tossed end over end from the train trestle to the waterbelow.

A mother and a male acquaintance are facing charges after a 4-year-old boy was tossed into the Wynoochee River from a bridge in Montesano last week.

Video of the Aug. 24 incident was posted to Facebook showing the boy being tossed end over end from the train trestle to the water below. The male subject threw the child in. The mother was waiting in the water to retrieve the boy after the fall. In the video, onlookers can be heard gasping, and others begin swearing at the adults involved after the child hits the water.

Steve Shumate, the chief criminal deputy of the Grays Harbor County Sheriff’s Office, said the incident took place at 3 p.m., and witnesses called law enforcement to report what had happened. Along with law enforcement, aid responded to check the child. The child was uninjured.

The mother is a 22-year-old Aberdeen resident.

“She was supportive of the incident,” Shumate said. “She faces reckless endangerment charges, at least.”

The man who threw the child from the bridge, a 35-year-old Aberdeen resident, has been cited for reckless endangerment and criminal trespass — the trestle is private property owned by the rail company — but additional charges could be possible, Shumate said.

“Those charges could be premature, because we’ve been meeting with (Prosecuting Attorney Katie Svoboda) to determine if there are any felony charges,” Shumate said.

Shumate said it appears the male was under the influence of alcohol. The mother was not believed to be under the influence. Another male subject was on the trestle at the same time, but no charges had been filed against him as of Monday afternoon.

A Montesano officer and a deputy from the Sheriff’’s Office and a trooper from the Washington State Patrol all responded to the call on Aug. 24. The officer contacted witnesses at Twin Bridges Park, while the deputy and trooper found the male subject who threw the boy from the bridge.

Locally, it’s a longstanding tradition to jump from the trestle to cool off when the weather gets hot.

“Back in the day, we did it ourselves,” Shumate said. “But we weren’t 4 years old.”

After the video was posted to social media, most of the comments condemned the situation. A few commenters, however, excused the incident and one suggested sharing the video was akin to harassment. The video has been shared to many pages by many people.

Shumate, on Monday, also condemned the incident.

“It was obviously not a smart thing they did,” Shumate said. “They’re down playing the situation, but that is quite the drop, even for an adult, and it wasn’t a smart thing to do with a 4-year-old.”