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Three jumpers in three months

Posted at 6:42 PM, Mar 03, 2016
and last updated 2016-03-03 21:42:08-05

23 ABC News has been tracking developments in the case of a man who threatened to jump off of a highway 99 overpass last night forcing the freeway to shut down for hours.

Since the first of the year, highway 99 has been forced to shut down now three times because of possible jumpers.

Now residents and even visitors are talking about the changes they believe should happen.

Angela Medina works at a local business off of 99 and Olive and expresses her concerns.

“I think it's pretty concerning because it's happening more often and maybe there's copycat, you know they've realized it's accessible,” said Medina

Accessible or not, many drivers are now questioning the type of barriers in place.

And many drivers like Evette Ogden are taking notice to details on over passes.

“You know on some other overpasses they have those big fences that go up really high and maybe that would deter people from thinking about that sort of thing,” said Ogden.

Other major highways like 178 and 58 have overpasses with fences over seven feet to protect those walking above.

But on highway 99 three feet is all that stands in the way of stopping a potential jumper.

“Yeah I think a lot of people that are in that situation are just you know trying to get attention and so if they had to climb this big barrier maybe they wouldn't,” said Ogden.

Medina believes that taller fences are a viable option to stop this from happening, but says her biggest worry is for everyone else.

It puts people in danger, the frist responders, the people that are driving the freeway underneath it. And then for anyone traveling and then of course businesses right off the freeway, it's pretty inconvenient when they have to close the freeway too,” said Medina.

And it's not just Kern County residents being affected, visitors like Marea Navarro and Laura Martinez were just passing through but their trip was delayed a day because of the closure.

“We supposed to arrive yesterday night at 12 a.m. but the road was closed so actually like our trip is delayed for one day and maybe we need to change also our flight back to Spain,” said Martinez.

Last night, 23 ABC caught up with the highway patrol officer Sgt. Michelle Skirezs who is aware of the troubling trend.

They say they're doing their best to keep drivers safe.

It seems like that we've had a lot of calls of jumpers on the freeway. I'm not sure why but we respond and do the best we can and talk people off the side of the freeway.

Today 23 ABC reached out to Caltrans for possible plans or discussions they are having about the incidents, but at this time they have not gotten back to us.