SALT LAKE CITY – A man who threatened to end his life by plunging from an overpass onto I-80 was prevented from making the potentially fatal leap by two law enforcement officers who worked together to save him.
Todd Royce, a Utah Highway Patrol spokesman, said a man was threatening to jump to his death from the 5600 West bridge over I-80 in Salt Lake City Wednesday night. FOX 13 News first heard report of the incident just after 7 p.m.
Agent Scott Nesbit, State Bureau of Investigations, approached the man and tried to talk to him and offer help. Sgt. Jacob Cox, UHP, also stopped to help, and he said the man didn’t seem to hear him at first. The man realized the trooper was there when Cox was about 5 feet behind him, and Cox said the man was sitting with his feet dangling over the overpass and his hands on the barrier.
“His first response when he turned around and saw me was, ‘Don’t touch me!'” Cox said. “And, I was really, honestly, I was terrified that he was gonna jump, so frankly I said a quick prayer. I said, ‘Please God, help me say what’s right.'”
Cox said he then walked behind the man and told him he wasn’t going to touch him. The man began to lean forward as if he was going to go over the edge, so Cox signaled to Nesbit and the two officers grabbed the man.
“And then we just grabbed him, pulled him back off the ledge,” Cox said. “He fought with us pretty good. He tried to lean forward as we grabbed him. He hooked his feet over the side of the ledge, had his hands on the ledge and tried to pull himself back up, but we were able to pull him back to the ground and get him to safety.”
Cox said the man had told them “he wanted it all to end.”
Royce said the man was prevented from jumping and was then taken to a hospital for a mental evaluation.
Cox said he hopes the man gets the help he needs, and he said they repeatedly tried to tell the man that things would get better.
“I hope that’s the case with this individual, that he can get the help that he needs, find out that there are really people out there that care about him, that love him, that want him to be around,” he said.
FOX 13 News does not generally cover suicides or suicide attempts unless there is a broader impact to the public, such as a police response at a freeway overpass.