When Dalton Tompkins, 24, of Peekskill took a cab to Bear Moutain Bridge on Thursday, March 9, asked the driver to stop near the middle of the span and then ran and jumped to his death, not one of his friends or family could imagine it happening.
The young man who loved his job as a waste handler at Wheelabrator in Peekskill, and worked 60 to 70 hours a week to support his 4-month-old daughter Christina, had only hours before been receiving help for a longtime drug problem, said his girlfriend Mary Goldsmith.
Goldsmith, a graduate of Horace Greeley High School in Chappaqua, said she never had a chance to talk with him beforehand and had no idea he was so desperate and distraught.
"I would have done anything to help him," she told Daily Voice.
Together for two years, but friends since they were 12 years old, Goldsmith said Tompkins had struggled for years with his drug problem and wanted others to know there is help available.
"It's something that's looked down upon," she said. "But it needs to be talked about so people can be helped. So they don't give up."
A hairstylist, Goldsmith told the story of how much Tompkins loved his family and was always there for his mother and cousins and aunts and uncles, and for her.
"That's what his life was about," she said. "Family, and especially his daughter. He loved her so."
But he was hiding something that none of them knew about, she added: The fact that he had given up and was looking for a way to end the struggle with his drug addiction.
"He was always going. ... Either working, with his daughter, or dealing with his issues," she said. "Now he can rest."
The only good thing that can come of this, Goldsmith said, is if others hear his story and get help before it is too late.
He is survived by mother and father Theresa Bittal Tompkins and Daniel Tompkins; his daughter, Christina; a brother, Jason, his grandparents, Walter and Margaret Bittal; several aunts, uncles, and cousins, and Mary Goldsmith.
A service was held on Monday to remember his life. The family asked that donations be made to "Drug Crisis in our Backyard", at drugcrisisinourbackyard.org .