The man who broke the fall of a woman who jumped from the third deck of the Oakland Coliseum on Sunday says his Marine training prompted him to react to the incident. Donnie Navidad, 61, is back home in Stockton recovering from severe bruises and other soft-tissue injuries while the unidentified woman is hospitalized with life-threatening injuries.

Navidad told the Stockton Record on Monday (see video above) that as he exited the Coliseum following Sunday’s Raiders game, “I heard this voice from a lady, real close, saying ‘Don’t do it, don’t do it.'” He continued:

“I happened to look up, and there was this female, I want to say about 20. She was sitting down in the area that I guess was restricted. After I told her, ‘Don’t do it,’ my coworker noticed she was moving to fall. And when she fell, that’s when I went to try to catch her to break her fall. … She hit my arm and then kind of bounced six yards over.”

Navidad, a member of the Marine Corps Reserve,” credited his military training for his response to the incident. “It just kicked in,” Navidad said. “It never leaves you.”

Here’s the earlier Associated Press account of the Coliseum incident:

Police say a fan who tried to catch a woman who jumped from a grandstand at the Oakland Coliseum after Sunday’s Raiders game saved her life, but also suffered serious injuries himself.

The woman, who was not identified, was critically injured Sunday after plunging about 45 feet at the Coliseum. She jumped shortly after the Raiders’ 23-19 loss to the Tennessee Titans as fans were leaving the stadium.

The man who tried to break her fall was seriously injured in the process, but was conscious and is expected to survive, police said.

“He saved her life quite honestly, at his own expense,” Alameda County Sheriff’s Sgt. J.D. Nelson told the Oakland Tribune. “This guy 100 percent saved her life. She’d be dead now.”

Nelson said the woman jumped from the third deck of stadium in an area that’s closed to fans and is covered by a tarp. The man who was on the concourse level saw her and repeatedly shouted, “Don’t do it,” Nelson said.

Nelson told KTVU-TV he lunged toward the woman as she dropped. He was knocked down and was taken to a hospital with serious injuries.

The man’s name was not released. Nelson told the TV station he was from Stockton, had served as a Marine and is a Raiders season ticket holder.

On the NFL opening day this year, a fan died from a fall off a pedestrian overpass outside Candlestick Park in San Francisco, and two others were injured when a railing collapsed at the Colts game against the Raiders in Indianapolis.

  • Palo Jon

    Now the jumper REALLY feels bad – banged up, embarrassed, and responsible for a would-be hero’s harm. “Its not always easy to know what to do.”


Dan Brekke

Dan Brekke is a blogger, reporter and editor for KQED News, responsible for online breaking news coverage of topics ranging from California water issues to the Bay Area's transportation challenges. In a newsroom career that began in Chicago in 1972, Dan has worked as a city and foreign/national editor for The San Francisco Examiner, editor at Wired News, deputy editor at Wired magazine, managing editor at TechTV as well as for several Web startups.

Since joining KQED in 2007, Dan has reported, edited and produced both radio and online features and breaking news pieces. He has shared in two Society of Professional Journalists Norcal Excellence in Journalism awards — for his 2012 reporting on a KQED Science series on water and power in California, and in 2014, for KQED's comprehensive reporting on the south Napa earthquake.

In addition to his 44 years of on-the-job education, Dan is a lifelong student of history and is still pursuing an undergraduate degree.

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