The Legend: A mother took her two young children out for a drive because she felt they were possessed by the devil. She drove off the bridge and into the river below killing everyone in the car. If you sit on the bridge with your windows rolled down and honk your horn three times you can hear children yelling “Don’t do it, Mother!!”
The History: I’ve heard stories of various cry baby bridges across the United States, but I wasn’t aware Utah had one until I read an article about haunted spots across the state. Bear River City isn’t too far from where I live, and considering it was Halloween figured it’d be a great day to check it out.
We got to the bridge and realized that it had been closed off some time ago, and a new bridge constructed right next to the old one. Thankfully, they left the old bridge standing and after climbing through some brush we could see the bridge stretched out in front of us.
It quickly became clear why the bridge had been abandoned. Made of steel, there were holes every few feet. Some of them big enough to fit a foot through, and rust spots were everywhere. We looked for any indication of a car going off the edge of the bridge, and while it would’ve been easy enough to repair the bridge there were no areas that we could see that showed any signs of previous damage.
When we got back home I figured something as major as a mother committing suicide and murdering her two children in the process would have been a major story. Bear River City is tiny, it would’ve been major news.
I searched the internet and newspapers for any mention of a major car accident, accidental deaths, murder, suicide, etc that occurred in Bear River. Finding nothing I expanded my search to the nearby cities of Corinne, Tremonton, and Brigham City. Nothing at all.
And then I found an article dated the 16th of May 1931 with a headline that read: “Driver Freed of Blame In Bridge Death”. While the story didn’t involve a mother killing her children, it was nevertheless incredibly tragic.
On the morning of Friday, May 16th, 1931 a 4-year-old boy by the name of Ellis Anderson was playing near the bridge while his father was working in a nearby field. A mail carrier was crossing the bridge when a dog darted in front of his car. While swerving to miss the dog unsuccessfully, he lost control of the car striking Ellis, throwing his body off the bridge and into the river below. His father pulled his body from the river. The medical examiner stated he was dead at the time of his arrival on the scene. The mail carrier later said he didn’t see the little boy chasing the dog. Another article says that the driver struck both Ellis and a 12-year-old companion by the name of Norman. No mention of Norman’s condition was made, but apparently he survived.
While this was definitely not the tragedy I was expecting to uncover, it makes you wonder if it is the spark behind the legend of Bear River City’s Cry Baby Bridge.