Good Samaritan Stopped to Help, Paid Awful Price

Robert Bruno Jr. jumps over bridge to avoid oncoming cars after stopping at a crash
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 8, 2019 8:37 AM CST
Updated Feb 10, 2019 12:15 PM CST
Fiancee: Good Samaritan's Death 'Makes Me Laugh and Cry'
Robert Bruno Jr. is pictured with his fiancee, Gwendolyn Sneed.   (GoFundMe)

A Good Samaritan stopped to help a crashed driver in San Diego County on Wednesday, only to die when he was forced over one of America's tallest bridges. Robert Verlin Bruno Jr. had pulled over in icy and foggy conditions to assist the driver of a Ford F-150 that had crashed into the side of Pine Valley Creek Bridge around 5:15am, with an uninjured infant inside, per KSWB and KFMB. But as another pickup truck slowed, two other vehicles piled up behind it, forcing it into Bruno's path, reports the Times of San Diego. Bruno saw the truck coming, ran to the south edge of the bridge, and jumped, according to California Highway Patrol. "Unfortunately, the Good Samaritan fell to the bottom of the Pine Valley Creek where he sustained fatal injuries," an officer tells KSWB.

The Pine Valley Creek Bridge is the 11th highest in the US at 450 feet, per NBC San Diego. KFMB reports 48-year-old Bruno fell 300 to 400 feet. His body, at first mistaken for that of a crash victim thrown from a vehicle, was found an hour later. Apart from the driver of the Ford, who suffered minor injuries, no one else was hurt. Though she'll miss "the other half of me," Bruno's fiancee and partner of 20 years doesn't hold a grudge. "It makes me laugh and cry at the same time. It was totally him," Gwendolyn Sneed of Jacumba Hot Springs tells NBC. "He was a guy who would help anybody at any time." A GoFundMe page has raised more than $17,000 to support Bruno's family, including an adult son, in less than a day. (Another Good Samaritan stopped to help a motorist and was shot.)

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