Jumping off bridges into Lake Ray Roberts has become a popular and dangerous pastime in Cooke County according to DPS trooper Mark Tackett.

Jumping from a bridge may not be the smartest thing to do, but it isn’t illegal — unless a posted Texas Department of Public Transportation sign says it is.

Tackett said DPS and TxDOT recently posted signs on several Cooke County bridges making bridge diving illegal.

The warning signs read “No Jumping From Bridge.”

“Disregarding a posted warning device is illegal, and anyone caught jumping from a bridge in Cooke County can get a ticket,” he said.

Cooke County Sheriff Mike Compton said the danger to jumpers is not the only problem associated with bridge jumping.

“It creates such a traffic jam,” he said. “I’ve got a quarter-inch stack of call sheets going back to 2002 because of kids jumping off that bridge,” he said.

He said the hit and run accident that severely injured 18-year-old Christina Sailer is the reason state officials finally posted the signs.

Sailer was with a group of friends near the bridge on County Road 3002 when a white pickup truck ran her over as she and a friend walked along the shoulder of the roadway.

Tackett noted that Sailer was not bridge jumping at the time of the accident.

“She was walking on the shoulder of the highway, just where she was supposed to be,” he said.

Tackett said authorities are still seeking information on the driver of the pickup truck who is believed to be a man be a white male between 40 and 50 years old “with, maybe, a beard or a goatee and a crew cut hairstyle,” Sailer’s brother, Michael said last week.

“Anyone with information about the July 2 hit and run should call (the Cooke County Sheriff’s Office at 668-5417 or 665-3471,” Tackett said.

Compton said most of the problems of kids jumping from bridges center on the bridge at Lone Oak Road near the lake.

“I’m not aware of (residents) doing it anywhere else in the county,” he said.

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