CUYAHOGA COUNTY AND SUMMIT COUNTY LINE, Ohio -- The FOX 8 I-Team has obtained exclusive video of Ohio Highway Patrol troopers saving the life of a man getting ready to jump off a bridge on the Turnpike. It happened on the Boston Mills bridge at the Cuyahoga County-Summit County line.
Trooper Will Head say he was handling another call when he came upon a man outside his vehicle at the side of the road. Video shows, as the trooper pulled up, the man climbed up on the edge of the bridge.
That bridge sits 173 feet above ground.
Head can be heard telling the man, “Don’t do this. Look at me. Come here,” and, “Can you talk to me?”
Head said he just wanted to keep the man engaged and let him know that the patrol could get help for him. Head told the I-Team, “Wanted to take my time and let him know that I’m concerned.”
Meantime, trooper Tony Stephens said, “I could see the sweat coming off his face.”
Stephens thought about trying to grab the man, but didn’t do it. He said, “I was just about to go do it. Because I felt, he’s gonna go. Then, trooper Head got him to start talking more.”
The video shows troopers kept talking to the man, and they inched closer. But an agonizing standoff dragged on. The man revealed he was having deep emotional troubles.
Trooper Stephen Pacheco said he noticed a change after asking about the man’s parents. Pacheco said, “I just wanted him to think of the people who cared for him because that’s what matters. It’s not the one negative person in his life."
The man later allowed troopers to hand him a cigarette from his car. Minutes later, the man leaned back and troopers then grabbed him. They could be heard saying. “Put your leg over. Get off that bridge.”
More than 40 minutes of life and death tension ended with a rescue.
Trooper Head said, “I believe he saw the sincerity me and my partners showed.”
Trooper Pacheco said, “We wanted him to know you’re worth something. And people do care for you.”
And trooper Stephens added, “This was the most rewarding thing that I have done in my 26 years on the patrol.”
We’re not identifying the man taken off the bridge. Troopers did get him medical help. They did not arrest him. Instead, they gave him another chance at life.