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While Taking A Selfie, Teen Fell 50 Feet Off An Iconic Dallas Bridge. Here's How He Survived

Methodist Dallas Medical Center
Triston Bailey, 18, fell 50 feet from the Margaret McDermott Bridge in Dallas. He's recovering from injuries that included a lacerated spleen, a pelvic fracture and broken bones in his face..

The last thing Triston Bailey remembers about that cold November night is the Dallas Stars game he saw with his friends.

On their way home, the teens drove through the white arches of the Margaret McDermott Bridge near downtown Dallas — and they couldn't resist the lure of the Instagram-worthy skyline.

That's when Bailey, a Mansfield 18-year-old, took the phrase "Do it for the 'gram" to a new level.

“We stopped on the shoulder just to take some pictures of the skyline,” Bailey recalled. “I assumed since there was a pedestrian walkway on the side that there was concrete in between."

There wasn't. Instead, there was a large gap.

"That's when I made the fall.”

Bailey fell 50 feet. His friends saw him sprawled on the dirt below.


Credit Methodist Dallas Medical Center
Triston Bailey was treated at Methodist Dallas Medical Center after he fell 50 feet from a Dallas bridge. Among the injuries: a lacerated spleen, a pelvic fracture and broken bones in his face.

EMTs rushed him to Methodist Dallas Medical Center. On Tuesday, Bailey gathered with Methodist doctors to talk about his recovery.

Dr. Edgar Araiza, an orthopedic trauma surgeon, says Bailey had several injuries, including a lacerated spleen, a pelvic fracture and broken bones in his face.

“One of the things that's pretty miraculous about Triston himself is that given the fall from 50 feet, he definitely had his guardian angel watching out for him that evening,” Araiza said. “His vitals were stable because we were able to operate on him within 48 hours.”

Araiza says he's seeing these types of injuries more often because of distracted drivers – and pedestrians.

“Whether it's people that are not being careful on these motorized scooters, someone whose car breaks down on the side of the road, you see quite a few of those patients who get hit because of the fact that they're not aware of who is driving around them or trying to cross the freeway,” Araiza said.

Bailey is walking again — after spending four months in a wheelchair and crutches.  Once he's recovered, he plans to enlist in the Air Force.

In the meantime, he's still taking selfies – just a bit more carefully.

The Margaret McDermott Bridge in Dallas.
Credit Shutterstock

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Miguel Perez is an assistant producer at KERA. He produces local content for Morning Edition and KERA News. He also produces The Friday Conversation, a weekly interview series with North Texas newsmakers.