Teen Who Shoved Friend Off 60-Foot Bridge Sentenced to Jail

March 28, 2019 Updated: March 28, 2019

A woman who pushed her 16-year-old friend from a bridge at a popular swimming area near Vancouver has been sentenced following a plea deal on charges of reckless endangerment.

Clark County District Court Judge Darvin Zimmerman sentenced 19-year-old Tay’Lor Smith on Wednesday, March 27, to two days in jail and 38 days on a county work crew.

Zimmerman was cited by The Associated Press as saying some jail time was justified in light of Jordan Holgerson’s serious injuries.

“This nightmare started for me when I was falling through the air—and I was really terrified,” Holgerson wrote in a statement read out in court, the New York Post reported.

victim speaks in court
Judge Darvin Zimmerman (L) listens to comments from survivor Jordan Holgerson (C), as defendant Tay’Lor Smith (R), looks on during Smith’s sentencing at the Clark County Courthouse in Vancouver, Wash., on March 27, 2019. (Amanda Cowan/The Columbian via AP)

The Incident

Holgerson was pushed off of a bridge in Vancouver, Washington, on Aug. 7. She was standing atop the Moulton Falls bridge, which sits above the Lewis River in Clark County.

A cellphone video shows Holgerson looking down on the water while someone off-screen counts down.

Holgerson hesitates, but then someone pushed her from behind.

“I went to the top of the bridge and my other—my friend … she came up to the bridge with me,” Holgerson told KATU from her hospital bed as she described the moments leading up to the push.

“And so, she was counting down, but I didn’t think anything of it. And I was like, ‘No, don’t count down, like, I won’t go if you count down. I’m not ready.’ And then, she pushed me.”

Holgerson suffered five broken ribs, a punctured lung, and air bubbles in her chest.

Plea Deal

Despite admitting to pushing her friend off the bridge, Smith initially entered a not guilty plea during her first court appearance on Sept. 7, reported KOIN.

Smith appeared on ABC’s “Good Morning America” show and said Holgerson “wanted to jump and she was scared, and she had asked me to give her a push.”

“I didn’t think about the consequences,” Smith added. “I thought she would be fine.”

Prosecutors cited a statement by the arresting officer that stated in part, “It is clear that Taylor Smith engaged in conduct, which created a substantial risk of death and resulted in serious physical injury to Jordan Holgerson.”

Smith faced charges of reckless endangerment and a possible maximum sentence of one year behind bars.

She was later offered a plea deal, announced on Feb. 11 by her attorney, reported the Columbian.

The details of the plea were not disclosed.

“At first I didn’t really want Tay’Lor to get into trouble,” Holgerson told NBC last August. “But now that I’ve thought about it more, I’m kind of wanting her to sit in jail and think about at least what she did.”

The Sentencing

In court Wednesday, Holgerson said she still struggled with physical therapy, pain, anxiety, and panic attacks.

“I didn’t ask for any this, but last summer my said-to-be good friend changed my life for the worst,” Holgerson read from a statement, as reported by the New York Post.

Holgerson was terrified when she was pushed and when she was in the water thought she was going to die.

She wrote in the statement that she suffers from PTSD and insomnia.

Holgerson’s mother expressed relief her daughter’s injuries weren’t more severe.

“We feel lucky today that she is alive,” Genelle Holgerson told the judge of the incident involving her daughter, adding that she’d like to see some jail time. “It has cost me and my family lost wages not to mention stress and heartache.”

Smith apologized to Holgerson in court saying Holgerson has been in her thoughts and that she has and will continue to do her best to right her wrongs.

Taylor Smith reacts in court
Tay’Lor Smith reacts in court during her sentencing at the Clark County Courthouse in Vancouver, Wash., on March 27, 2019. (Amanda Cowan/The Columbian via AP)

She broke down in tears when a deputy handcuffed her and led her out of the courtroom.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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