Driver Jumps Rising New Jersey Drawbridge, Lands on the Other Side

A quick-thinking New Jersey driver made a split-second decision to accelerate the engine of his Toyota RAV4 to jump a drawbridge lifting up beneath his car.

Terence Naphys, of West Deptford Township, had his entire family in his vehicle when he made the snap decision after paying the $1.50 toll for the Middle Thorofare Bridge August 1, the Associated Press reports.

“It’s scary what’s going through your mind,” Terence Naphys tells NBC 10. “We could have all landed in the water.”

The bridge connects Cape May to the Wildwood area near the Jersey shore.

Police say that as Naphys attempted to cross the steel grating on the bridge, the drawbridge rose three to six feet above ground because an oversized vessel was trying to pass.

“My wife said, ‘I think the bridge is opening,’” Terence recounted, fearing that he would drop 65 feet into the water.

“He accelerated, and of course then we landed with a big impact on the concrete on the side,” Jackie Naphys, Terrence’s wife, told KYW.

Nobody was hurt in the incident, but Terence estimates that his SUV suffered an estimated $10,000 worth of damage.

Authorities say the operator of the bridge was at fault for causing the scare.

“An employee for the Cape May County Bridge Commission stated that a large vessel was approaching the bridge and they had no contact with that vessel due to their radio being down,” police said.

The bridge operator told police that he turned on the lights and gates thinking no vehicles were on the road but was not sure if he did because of the sun glare.

Terence, meanwhile, says he will not be traveling over anymore drawbridges any time soon.