INDEPENDENCE, Ohio (WJW) – Independence Police Officer Leanne Harvan was not sure what to expect when she was dispatched to a busy highway after callers reported a man walking in the middle of I-77.
“On 77 South, there is a man standing in the middle of the freeway,” a 911 caller told a dispatcher around 8 p.m. on June 21.
When Harvan arrived, she saw the man walking in the middle of the right lane. He had his shirt off and his fists clenched.
“I didn’t want anything to happen to him, I just wanted to help him,” Harvan told the FOX 8 I-Team. “It was clear to me he was in crisis.”
Police body camera video obtained by the I-Team shows the officers arriving. Harvan asked the man what was going on.
“I wanted to try and get him off the highway so he wouldn’t get hurt,” Harvan said. “He kept saying he was tired. So I tried just talking to him so I could find out what we could do to get him help.”
Harvan said she recently completed crisis intervention training and that helped her handle the situation.
“I’m tired,” the man can be heard saying on the body camera video.
“So I asked him what was going on, how can I help?” Harvan said. “I let him know we are here to help, we don’t want to hurt him and we want to help get him out of this situation.”
The man eventually slid his cell phone to the officer. Harvan was then able to talk to the man’s mother. She learned a few days prior he was in a motorcycle crash, suffered a concussion and was going through some tough times.
While Harvan was talking to the man, the other officers were able to stop traffic on the highway. After several minutes, the officer was able to get the man to walk to the side of the road. He also agreed to go to the hospital to be treated.
The man’s mother told the I-Team she is extremely thankful to the officer for her kindness and compassion. She said her son is doing better and continuing to recover.
It was a very serious situation,” said Independence Police Chief Robert Butler. “The officers were all able to remain calm, they had that training, the knowledge to do something different in that incident and were able to provide care for an individual who desperately needed it. Officer Harvan did a great, great job. I am so very proud of all of the officers that responded.“
Harvan says she is thankful the man is OK.
“I am just happy he is getting the help he needs,” Harvan said. “I am happy that he let us help him.”