Father-to-be from Dickinson killed in fall from I-94 overpass didn't jump, family says
FARGO -- A Fargo man who fell about 25 to 30 feet from an Interstate 94 overpass Thursday has died, and his family is remembering him as a soon-to-be father with a generous, kindhearted spirit.Cody Kadrmas, 28, died Sunday afternoon from injuries...
FARGO - A Fargo man who fell about 25 to 30 feet from an Interstate 94 overpass Thursday has died, and his family is remembering him as a soon-to-be father with a generous, kindhearted spirit.
Cody Kadrmas, 28, died Sunday afternoon from injuries he suffered in the fall, his family said.
“He was the most loving son, the most loving man,” said his mother, Nancy Gibbs. “He was all excited for a baby that he was having.”
Kadrmas’ girlfriend, 24-year-old Ashley Engel, said they had been dating for nine months and that she’s due to give birth to his child in July.
“Hoping to God I have it on the ninth. That would be his birthday,” she said.
The question of whether Kadrmas’ fall was accidental or intentional remains under investigation as police await the final autopsy report, said Deputy Chief Joe Anderson, a Fargo police spokesman.
Kadrmas’ mother and girlfriend say they’re certain it was an accident. “Never in the world, ever, ever, ever, would he ever try to, you know, do anything to hurt himself,” Engel said.
Kadrmas’ brother-in-law, Sam Wilson, said the family does not know why Kadrmas was in the area before he fell about 1 p.m. Thursday. Witnesses who have reached out to the family say he was walking in traffic on the 45th Street overpass in south Fargo and that he was somehow startled before he fell off, Gibbs said.
“We don’t know if he was kind of, was trying to get out of the way of traffic and slipped off or what happened,” Wilson said.
Kadrmas’ mother said hospital staff told her family that the way he landed - on his side rather than his head or feet - suggested that he fell.
Police have said witness reports varied on whether Kadrmas fell or jumped off the overpass. Before it happened, he was seen walking in the area and climbing over the concrete barrier, according to police.
The concrete barrier is on the west side of the overpass, above where Kadrmas landed in the left lane of eastbound I-94. On the east side of the overpass, there’s a pedestrian walkway enclosed by fencing.
A driver who almost struck Kadrmas with her car told The Forum she saw him roll off the overpass before she braked and swerved to avoid him. No vehicles hit him, and no motorists were hurt, authorities said.
Kadrmas, who was conscious at the scene, was taken by ambulance to a local hospital, authorities said. A trooper with the North Dakota Highway Patrol initially told The Forum that Kadrmas’ injuries were not life-threatening.
Engel said Kadrmas’ injuries were, in fact, very serious: He suffered a broken arm and several internal injuries that required surgery. Ultimately, life support was removed because blood had stopped flowing to his brain, she said.
Originally from Dickinson, Kadrmas attended Dickinson High School and was a longtime fan of the Denver Broncos, a team that’s earned a spot in this year’s Super Bowl. “Everybody would always give him crap for it, but he never gave up. He was a diehard Broncos fan,” his brother-in-law said.
Kadrmas’ girlfriend said he had worked on western North Dakota’s oil rigs in the past and was recently doing concrete work. In his free time, he would play video games, exercise at the gym and listen to all kinds of music, from old-time country to rap, she said.
“He was a beautiful soul inside and out,” she said. “I think, personally, I am the luckiest girl in the world ... to get to experience that.”
Kadrmas’ family said they had no concerns about his mental health. His girlfriend said that he was happy. They were talking about getting married next year, and he was looking forward to the birth of their child.
“He was so excited to be a dad,” she said. “He loved kids so much.”
Kadrmas’ funeral is set for 1 p.m. MST Friday at St. Wenceslaus Church in Dickinson, his family said.
After falling from an overpass over Interstate 94 on Thursday, Cody Kadrmas died Sunday.