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Woman on crusade to have barriers installed on bridge where her partner took his life

Georgetown neighborhood Washington, D.C.
Posted at 7:56 PM, Sep 13, 2022
and last updated 2022-09-13 19:56:37-04

A woman is looking to find meaning and closure in the tragic loss of her loved one by urging Washington, D.C. leaders to install safety barriers on the city's tall Taft Bridge after authorities say her partner jumped to his death from the structure in April.

As WUSA 9 reported, 29-year-old Peter Tripp tragically died by suicide after jumping from the bridge. He left behind his longtime partner Chelsea Van Thof who is on a mission to make it harder for the same thing to happen to someone else.

The two met in veterinary school and were in a long-term relationship.

“He was very supportive,” Van Thof said. “You could you could feel the love from him.”

A nearby bridge, the Ellington Bridge, does have barriers on its sides, which motivated Von Thof, even more, to push to change the Taft Bridge.

DC Council Chair Phil Mendelson fought to stop the city from putting barriers on the Taft Bridge because he said, “The research was virtually non-existent about whether barriers actually deterred somebody from suicide at that place."

During a virtual listening session, Van Thof asked Mendelson if he would support putting barriers on the bridge. He sent his condolences for her loss and said he would not act on the matter, saying, “I don’t intend as a council member to get involved with that,” he said.

“It's important to me,” she said. “It's important to honor Peter in this way and he was the best person I ever met and this is what he would have done. That's what he would have wanted.”

If you or someone you know needs help or assistance, the Suicide & Crisis Lifeline can be reached by dialing "988" 24 hours a day, every day.