No charges to be filed in Wisconsin drawbridge death

MILWAUKEE (AP) — No charges will be filed in the death of a man who fell from a Milwaukee drawbridge that was raised as he was walking across it, prosecutors said Friday, noting that investigators found no evidence of criminal wrongdoing.

Richard Dujardin, 77, of Providence, Rhode Island, was crossing the Kilbourn Avenue Bridge in downtown Milwaukee on Aug. 15 with his wife, according to a report by the Milwaukee County Medical Examiner’s Office.

Rosemarie Dujardin made it across the bridge, which spans the Milwaukee River, but her husband was about halfway across when a remote operator with two camera views of the structure opened it to allow boat traffic to pass.

The lights and bells were operational as the two sections were raised and crossing arms came down at each end of the bridge, according to investigators.

Dujardin grabbed onto a side rail as the bridge sections rose to a 90-degree angle, but he lost his grip and fell about 70 feet (21 meters) to the pavement below, the report states. He suffered a head injury and was pronounced dead at the scene, investigators said.

Police interviewed the bridge operator and witnesses, reviewed traffic video, and inspected the bridge operator’s work area.

The Milwaukee County District Attorney’s Office said in a statement that it has concluded its review of the investigation and determined that no criminal charges are warranted.

Dujardin’s family, including his six adult children, remember him as an avid traveler, devout Catholic and passionate storyteller.

After earning a journalism degree from Fordham University, he got a job at The Providence Journal, where he worked for 47 years, mostly as a religion writer. Dujardin not only covered the local faith communities, but also international events, such as the installations of three popes in Rome, according to the Journal.

Peter Dujardin, wrote on Facebook that his dad was a “news junkie” right to the end and still mentally keen at 77, traveling often by plane to see his 12 grandkids. Peter ended his post quoting a phrase his dad would often say to his six kids, reflecting how faith remained at the center of his life: “Stay close to God.”

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