Man with sons in arms dies in leap from bridge, boys survive

The Wanaque River flows under The Crescent Bridge and Interstate 287 in Wanaque, N.J, Tuesday, Oct. 25, 2016. New Jersey State police say John Spincken, 37, from Pequannock, N.J., was killed Monday night, Oct. 24, when he jumped off the highway bridge with his two young sons, seriously injuring the children. (Myles Ma/NJ Advance Media via AP)

WANAQUE, N.J. (AP) — A father died after jumping off a New Jersey highway bridge with his two young sons in his arms, yet the toddlers survived the 100-foot plunge and are expected to make a full recovery.

John Spincken, 37, of Pequannock, was holding the boys, 1 and 3, when he jumped into a wooded area from the Wanaque Bridge on Interstate 287 at about 8 p.m. Monday, state police said. He was pronounced dead at the scene; the boys were found nearby, near the Wanaque River.

“When the officers found the children conscious and alert it was nothing short of a miracle, that’s for sure,” Pequannock Township police Capt. Christopher DePuyt said Tuesday. “If there is a silver lining, it’s that the kids are OK.”

The boys were in fair condition Tuesday at St. Joseph’s Medical Center a spokeswoman said, declining further comment on their injuries or when they might be released.

Spincken scaled a 12-foot fence meant to prevent people from jumping off the bridge, DePuyt said. He said the man’s car was found on the side of the highway and it’s assumed that he climbed on top of it to get over the fence.

The incident began Monday night with a call from a friend of Spincken’s wife, who said the boys’ father had taken the toddlers and threatened to harm them. DePuyt says the father was tracked through his cellphone, and police found the unoccupied car on the bridge.

Police believe that tree branches helped cushion the boys’ fall.

“I was expecting the worst outcome when I arrived at the scene, and I was amazed last night and even this morning on the condition of the children,” DePuyt said.

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