Wednesday, May 30, 2012

I Was Wrong, Cont'd...

Body found on Corona freeway likely suicide
The body of a 51-year-old Riverside man was found early Tuesday morning, May 29, in the westbound lanes of Highway 91 at the Interstate 15 freeway interchange in Corona, where it appeared the man fell or jumped from the freeway connector road above.

Preliminary findings of the ongoing investigation suggest that the death of Robert Rowley, whose identity was released by the Riverside County coroner’s office, might be suicide, said Officer Maurice Walker, a spokesman for the Highway Patrol’s Riverside office. An unattended vehicle registered to Rowley was found on the connector road 80 feet above where his body was found.

The news story got the time wrong. I left the house at 2:30. This location is 25 miles south of that and I had stopped for gas. It was actually about 3:00 when I saw the man sitting in his car.

I should have followed my first instincts. If I did, he might likely still be here.
Damn, this has been a tough two days for me, but nothing compared to what his family is going through.
Pray for them.

Yes, I'm drinking. It helps right now.


kr said...

You couldn't have known, Gino. And although you carry pretty good just-a-guy energy, talking a suicidal person out of a drama-suicide is not, as far as I've ever heard, easy to do. Maybe since he was still in his car ... but maybe not, too.

And your safety concerns are real as well.

I break Oregon's cell-phone law pretty regularly calling 911 while I'm driving on the highway ... I'd guess about every 50 trips, about. No potential suicides yet, but bad debris on the road, stalls in bad places, that type of thing. I'm less 'able bodied' than you, not only physically, but since I have young children depending on me (and often in the car), the latter of which makes a very real difference in my stop/don't stop math. I do what I can to load the situation asap with trained people, flares, and flashing lights.

So far the cops haven't come to my house later with a ticket for the obvious cell-phone infraction ... although I always wonder if they might someday. 'Be an interesting day in court.

Foxfier said...

There's no way you could have known.

I don't know what his mindset was, but I know that I always went towards homicide rather than suicide-- but th it had to be justified. Trying to stop him might have been "justified" in his mind.

I know that doesn't help.

Dear Lord, I'm sorry. This is a thousand times worse than that moment of "thank God it wasn't me" when you see a crash ahead when you JUST got out of traffic.

Anonymous said...
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Bike Bubba said...

Gino, make sure you give the police a call with what you know. Back in 1994, I was walking up the stairs of the Berkeley math building (about 12 stories tall) when my brother and I heard a scream and a thud. We thought it was just a joke until he looked down and saw the body. I didn't sleep well for a couple of days, but it sure helped to tell the police what I knew.

I'm guessing the guy whose body I saw had just failed comps or something--school wasn't in session so he was likely a grad student--and so I wonder if my brother and I could have talked him out of it. We understood the stress of grad school, after all.

That said, maybe it was better (per anonymous' comment) that we didn't get the chance. We'll never know, and I can still see the young man's body on the pavement.

Brian said...

Fuck, man. I'm so sorry.

Gino said...

To All: thanks for all your kind words.

i'll be looking into a bit more on the situation in the next few days.
cant say i'll be able to share anything.

Night Writer said...

We are familiar with the experience here. The Reverend Mother (well before she became a Rev. or a mother) did some graphic design with my former company. She went out to lunch a couple times with a young woman there who handled some of her jobs; she was a vibrant young blonde. Shortly after we were married, we learned that the young woman committed suicide. It was a shock, and RM agonized whether she had missed any signs, or could have said something, anything that would have made a difference. This was about the time the Mall Diva's arrival was upon us; when she was born we gave her this woman's name, Christine, for a middle name to help remind us to not take people, or their situations, for granted.

About a year later, a former co-worker of mine who had since become my client also killed herself. She was a high-powered, acerbic type who actively disliked Christians, but we got along very well; she even tolerated my testimony - perhaps because of the things she'd seen in my life - and we had some good talks, yet she was quite adept at hiding her struggles with drugs and alcohol. When she passed, it was as much as a shock as with Christine. The night after she died I wrote the following with both of them in mind; I hope it helps.

Between Accident and Intent

A friend died yesterday
in the haze between accident and intent,
when the demons that push and pull
got together and said “Heave,”
and there was nothing left
but the ripples in the lives
of we who remained,
pondering the fate of seeds sown long before
into cracks in the flinty rock
that was weaker than one would think
and more brittle than one could guess
and more precious than one ever realized
until after the avalanche had crumbled
to a final end
and the haunting thought came that perhaps
a step better placed at an earlier time
would have prevented a shambles,
while the dust left in your mouth suggests
that another step could have been
into the tumbling center, to fight
for your own equalibrium.

Anonymous said...


Drinking may help right now, but i hope that i can help even more.

I'm Robert's niece, and to me Uncle Bob will always be the man who taught me to stand on a surf board, in my grandma's pool. He'll always be my tallest uncle, who's hugs always lifted me off the ground. I'll always remember the first time he introduced me to his wife and step kids- NEW COUSINS! lol- he was so excited. He was a proud man who loved his family and was loved by his family.

I'm sure my aunt said this when she spoke with you, but i'd like to reiterate that my uncle was an amazing man, but like any man he had his own problems. I didn't know all of them- maybe due to my age, but i'm sure there were other people, close to him, that didnt even know some things about him. Saying that, there is no way you could have known what he was thinking or what was going to happen that day.

I appreciate your words because they present you as a man who cared. There are people on that freeway who never would have thought to even stop, there are people who never considered the life of my uncle, but rather complained about the traffic, there are people on the internet so uncaring not to consider the family, that would read the crude comments from the article you cited. You cared and for that i am appreciative.

You weren't wrong.. you never could have known.


Gino said...

thank you, Jessica.

speaking to your aunt helped me a lot with the 'why didn't i' questions.
its good know what i now do about him and his situation. I understand that there really was not much of a difference that i could have made... he would have done it anyway in a different place most likely.
and yes, he was loved and will be missed for very good reasons. from you and your aunt's testimony, he sounds like the kind of guy i would have appreciated knowing.

i know one thing for sure: his act taught me something that i will not forget. i will never pass another car parked on an overpass... ever again.
i will do the right thing, and its easier now because i now know what that thing is.

i'm learning this lesson so that your Uncle Bob may not have died in vain.

Thank you Jessica, for your response. it lightens my heart considerably

Anonymous said...

Hi Jessica,

I may have known your Uncle Bob and if so, I am very sad to hear about this. If this is the same Robert, he used to work for a retail Mattress chain in the past and lived in Huntington Beach. By the sound of what you were saying about being tall, and loved surfing, it sure sounds like the wonderful man that I knew. Have there been any services? If not, please post as he will be missed by many.

S. Crowe