Mother starts petition after son jumps from Rio Grande Gorge Bridge

Posted at: 07/17/2014 6:22 PM
By: Kai Porter, KOB Eyewitness News 4

A New Mexico mother is on a mission to save lives. Curly O’Connor’s son, Cooper Beacom, committed suicide last April when he jumped off the Rio Grande Gorge Bridge near Taos. He was just 23-years-old.

“He just grabbed the railing of this bridge and popped himself over,” said O’Connor. “I saw it. My 16-year-old saw it. His best friend saw it. We were here and we were trying to stop him and he just ran and plopped himself over. It’s just wrong.”

Now, she wants to keep the tragedy from happening to another family. She’s started a petition online that already has more than 600 signatures. She wants the state to do something to make the bridge safer. Over the years dozens and dozens of people have jumped to their deaths from the bridge.

“People who have been rescued from jumping off bridges have gone on to lead a normal life and that’s 94% of those people. That’s huge,” she said. “If we can save one person from here on out that would mean my mission is accomplished.”

In a statement, the New Mexico Department of Transportation said it conducted a feasibility study in 2009. The study found barriers would cost millions of dollars to build and the state doesn’t have the money right now. The department said it’s still looking at all options.

But O’Connor said money shouldn’t be an excuse and she wants to know why nothing’s been done since the state’s study five years ago.

For more information about Curly’s story and to sign her petition, visit

If you are in a crisis and need immediate assistance you can call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at:  1-800-273-8255