Photographer fell off bridge, coroner rules

Toutle man, battered camera recovered near Mount St. Helens

By Craig Brown, Columbian metro editor

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A Cowlitz County man whose body was found near the base of a bridge died of an accidental fall, according to Cowlitz County authorities.

Lance Lynn Chandler, 52, of Toutle, died of blunt-force trauma after falling from a bridge along the Spirit Lake Memorial Highway, which is on the road to Mount St. Helens. His battered camera was found nearby; an examination of the images suggest he was taking a photograph from the bridge when he fell. The last image was taken from the point where it appears he fell.

Chandler's Nissan Murano was found parked near the bridge, which is at milepost 39 of the highway. Sheriff's deputies also found his coat, his cell phone and his empty camera case.

The Cowlitz County Sheriff's Office originally reported that Chandler was found near a bridge on Highway 503, which is the Lewis River Highway, but later corrected the information to reflect he died along Highway 504.