PORTLAND, Ore. – The 18-year-old who pushed her friend off a bridge, 50 feet above the East Fork Lewis River, says she never intended to hurt her.
In an exclusive interview with Good Morning America, Tay'lor Smith said 16-year-old Jordan Holgerson had wanted to jump off the bridge near Moulton Falls in Clark County, but she was scared she wouldn’t be able to.
“She wanted to jump and she was scared and she had asked me to give her a push,” Smith said. “I didn’t think about the consequences. I thought she would be fine.”
The incident was captured on video, showing Holgerson’s fall and piercing scream before she slapped the water.
After entering the water, Holgerson told KATU she had thought she was fine and that she was swimming normally back to shore, but really, she was drowning. Her friends and an off-duty EMT pulled her onto some nearby rocks.
“I was with her when she came out of the water and I knew something was wrong,” Smith said.
Smith said at first, Holgerson didn’t seem that upset about the push. But her reaction has changed in the past week and a half.
“At the beginning she was very, ‘You’re fine. I know you didn’t mean to hurt me.’ And then now, she just doesn’t answer,” she said.
Smith said she’s spoken with Holgerson a few times on Snapchat and through text messages and she’s apologized several times, but she has not seen her in person since Holgerson went to the hospital.
“I went to the hospital,” Smith said. “I got asked to leave. I wasn’t allowed to see her. So, I had left and went home.”
Holgerson broke five ribs and injured her lungs in the fall. She spent four days in the hospital. Doctor's say she's lucky she survived the fall.
Smith could face charges for the push.
“It’s scary. I mean, I accept whatever the prosecutor thinks is best for me, considering I caused not only bodily harm, but emotional trauma as well. But I just hope for the best,” Smith said.
In an interview with KATU News, Holgerson admitted she had initially wanted to jump off the bridge after she saw a friend do it.
“I went to the top of the bridge and my other – my friend she came up to the bridge with me,” Holgerson said 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.”
Smith said she and Holgerson have been friends for years and she hopes they can be friends again someday.
“I never intended to hurt her, ever. Nor would I intend to hurt anyone. I’m really sorry it turned out that way, but I just pray that she heals and gets better,” Smith said.
The Clark County Sheriff’s Office said they are forwarding the case to the Clark County Prosecutor’s Office for “appropriate charging.”
Watch the full Good Morning America segment below: