INQUIRER STAFF WRITER
A South Jersey man wanted in a series of robberies last week in Bensalem jumped to his death from the Platt Memorial Bridge yesterday morning after more than four hours of negotiations with Philadelphia police.
Michael Dixon, 29, of Williamstown, was pulled over on the bridge around 4:45 a.m. by police after he was seen speeding near 26th Street and Penrose Avenue and driving into a guardrail on the bridge.
Dixon fled his car and climbed over the rail on the westbound side of the bridge, telling officers that he had "nothing to live for" and that "they're looking for me," according to Lt. Frank Vanore, a Philadelphia police spokesman.
Although Dixon started to climb back to safety three times, he jumped at 9:15 a.m., police said. He landed on a concrete slab and was taken to the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, where he was pronounced dead at 9:27 a.m.
Bensalem police confirmed that Dixon had been wanted in the robbery of a Sovereign Bank there Thursday. They also said Dixon had stolen cash and an Alex's Lemonade Stand charity jar from a Rita's water ice stand on Street Road in Bensalem on Tuesday.
Dixon was also wanted in New Jersey, accused of carjacking the brown Subaru he was driving when police stopped him on the bridge. His record included 27 arrests in New Jersey, and several warrants had been issued for him in connection with bank robberies in Deptford and Belmar, authorities said.
"Philadelphia police did a wonderful job searching for this individual throughout the night," Bensalem Sgt. Andrew Aninsman said. "We knew the crime spree was going to increase."
The bridge was barricaded for several hours yesterday morning, Vanore said. No related traffic problems were reported.
"Trained negotiators come in. . . . It is a large response," he said.