NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — A teenager pulled away resources, risked the lives of officers and blocked traffic for hours Thursday while illegally climbing the Queensboro Bridge.
That teenager said he was not trying to hurt himself; he just wanted to go viral, CBS2’s Cory James reports. Doing just that could result in him spending some time in jail.
The 17-year-old started on the ground but climbed his way into trouble.
The entire time, he was on a social media app as thousands of viewers watched and paid him money, encouraging the teen to continue his daring venture in the air.
Denise Monahan spotted first responders racing to the teen, who managed to stay several feet above police for over an hour.
“We heard the ambulance, we saw the emergency truck,” she said. “I didn’t think anybody would be jumping over the bridge.”
But someone was staying on top of it.
The incident happened on a dangerous weather day filled with thick fog.
The risky act created a messy traffic jam during rush hour, leaving one Connecticut mom and many others frustrated in their cars.
“Super frustrating,” she said. “I’m a wife and I have kids and it does take a while to get home.”
“Why is he doing that?” another driver asked.
“Another day in New York,” another driver said.
This is not the first time a climber flirted with danger recently.
Just last week, a man was rescued after using the diagonal pillars to go up the New York Times building in Midtown.
“We must hold them accountable,” Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams said.
Back in 2016, Adams proposed a bill along with other lawmakers, hoping to increase the penalty by “making a person guilty of criminal trespassing in the second degree when he or she knowingly climbs” critical infrastructures like a building or bridge.
It passed the Senate but not the Assembly.
“We’re hoping that it’s reintroduced and hopefully we can have an Assembly sponsor,” Adams said. “It would send the right message that we are not going to allow people, for their own joy and kicks, putting people in harm’s way.”
It’s an initiative that would also protect officers called to climb high and risk their lives to take down those causing preventable emergencies.
CBS2 reached out to PRISM Live, the platform the teen used to go live and make tips from viewers, to see if there is a policy banning that kind of activity or a way to disable the payment feature when the app is being incorrectly used.
A spokesperson said they cannot block users from using streaming services if it does not violate that hosting site’s policies.
In the meantime, the 17-year-old was taken to a local hospital for a psychiatric evaluation.
He has not been arrested but could potentially face criminal trespassing charges.
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