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Son of former SPC president jumps from Sunshine Skyway bridge

TAMPA — The son of the former president of St. Petersburg College jumped to his death from the Sunshine Skyway bridge Friday afternoon, Hillsborough sheriff's deputies said.

Carl Kuttler III, 43, of Pinellas Park parked his 2006 Infiniti on the median of the bridge and jumped at 2:40 p.m., deputies said.

Kuttler's father, Carl Kuttler Jr., was the president of St. Petersburg College from 1978 until he retired on Dec. 31, 2009.

"St. Petersburg College is deeply saddened by the tragic death of Carl Kuttler III," SPC president Bill Law said in a statement. "Carl Kuttler Jr. has many friends and former colleagues who will be thinking of him and his family at this most difficult time."

Kuttler called Bay News 9 anchor Al Ruechel moments before he jumped and told him of his intentions, the station reported.

The station called 911 while Ruechel urged Kuttler not to jump.

Ruechel said the call cut off after about 40 seconds. Kuttler was no longer on the bridge when authorities arrived. A boater found his body in Tampa Bay.

"When these kind of things happen, you think you can control it and do something about it. You're going to say a word that's going to stop it," Ruechel said. "Sometimes it doesn't happen that way. And we're just sad for the family."

Ruechel said Kuttler had done kitchen work for him. In the late 1990s, Kuttler founded Kuttler Kitchens, which has an office in Pinellas Park.

Son of former SPC president jumps from Sunshine Skyway bridge 04/22/11 [Last modified: Friday, April 22, 2011 11:22pm]
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