Two boys are recovering from serious injuries they sustained when their father grabbed them and plunged about 100 feet from a highway bridge onto a wooded embankment following a domestic dispute with his wife, New Jersey State Police said.
The 1-year-old and 3-year-old boys were taken to St. Joseph's Hospital Monday night after their father, identified as John Spincken, jumped off the bridge over the Wanaque River with his children in his arms. Spincken died.
State troopers were called to Interstate 287 near mile marker 56 about 8 p.m. after getting reports from a local police department about the suicidal father.
Police said Spincken was arguing with his wife and that he threatened to harm himself and his children before taking off with the boys in his SUV. The wife called 911 and police used the GPS in Spincken's cellphone to track him within a 2,000 square foot radius.
Searchers found the man and his sons in the woods near the river, troopers said. Spincken was pronounced dead at the scene.
Police found the father's SUV near the bridge. They believe he climbed on top of the vehicle and scaled the "suicide prevention fence" on 287 before he jumped. He and the two boys hit the embankment below.
On Tuesday morning, Pequannock Captain Christopher DePuyt called the boys' expected recovery "a miracle."
One of the boys suffered a collapsed lung and the other boy had a concussion, according to police. They are recovering in the intensive care unit.
A community group left teddy bears outside the boys' home Tuesday, while neighbors and friends wondered why Spincken tried to hurt his kids.
"Something reallyr had to go wrong," said neighbor Abe Balasis. "They looked loving, they really did. But you really don't know what goes on behind closed doors."
DePuyt said that his department didn't have a history with the family before Monday night's domestic dispute and that the children will be released into the custody of their mother.