Connecting Nyack (Rockland County) with Tarrytown (Westchester County), New York, the Tappan Zee Bridge can be scary just to drive across. High and wide over the Hudson River, it sways in strong winds and always provides views of the river that – for most people – don’t invite drop-ins.
But that’s what happened shortly after 9 am Tuesday morning, when a woman and a man, naked and holding hands, jumped from the bridge. She died in the fall; he was in critical condition at last report. They had jumped from the hood of a parked Chevrolet Suburban in the Westchester-bound lane, reported the Wall Street Journal.com
Construction workers under the bridge who saw the pair jump were the first to reach 29-year old Alpha Choice and her boyfriend 44-year-old Christopher Shears, both of Ithaca, NY.
The couple had known each other from the time Choice was a 16-year old Catholic high school student in the Bronx, according to NYDailyNews.com. Choice responded to a catcall Shears (then in his 30s and also a Bronx resident) had made on the street, and the rest of the story, apparently, was tragic history, culminating in their suicide leap this week.
Regarded as a promising student with a scholarship to Cornell beckoning, Choice pulled back from her friends as she became romantically involved with Shears, according to the DailyNews account.
Lohud.com indicates she earned her bachelor’s degree in biological sciences and her master’s in teaching from Cornell. In 2007, she entered the Ph.D. program in education there, then late last January, she took a leave of absence. Choice was not enrolled at Cornell at the time of her death.
From 1998 to 2008, more than 25 people committed suicide on the Tappan Zee Bridge, Wikipedia reports, citing figures from the New York State Thruway Authority.