When a man contemplating suicide stood at the edge of a highway overpass, prepared to jump, Michigan State Police were quick to react. They called in the help of 13 semi-trucks, which lined up underneath the overpass to provide a shorter distance should the man have jumped. Fox 2 News reported that police closed all lanes of Interstate 696 after receiving the man’s threat to commit suicide by jumping off the overpass.
The Michigan State Police, Huntington Woods, and Oak Park police departments’ negotiators worked to talk him down for several hours, while Michigan State Police organized the trucks to lineup.
The police reasoned that a truck below the man would provide a better chance for his survival because he didn’t have as far to fall. Hunting Woods Police Sgt. Jason Brockdorff told the Detroit News: “That’s a practice we use if we have a jumper. We try to do it every time, to lessen the distance someone would travel if they were to jump.”
It didn’t come to that, however, as the man walked off the bridge and was taken to a nearby hospital for evaluation. The Metro Detroit Police Department shared the powerful photo of how the truckers assisted with this scary situation, but also pointed out that the photo didn’t convey the man’s struggle over possibly taking his own life.
They wrote: “This photo does show the work troopers and local officers do to serve the public. But also in that photo is a man struggling with the decision to take his own life. Please remember help is available through the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.”
They followed it up by tweeting: “You can also call a loved one, member of the clergy or 911. There are so many people that can help you make the choice to get help and live! It is our hope to never see another photo like this again.”
Those who weighed in with comments on IJR.com’s coverage of the story praised those involved, calling the effort “pretty smart” and a “brilliant idea.”
Another commenter remarked: “Wow! I never heard of or would’ve thought of that! Truckers are almost all good people. Great job police and troopers. I hope the ‘ponderer’ gets the help he obviously needs. Thankfully he didn’t use a gun to take innocent people with him.”
Other commenters added: “Hopefully the man will get some help. Sometimes life can beat you up pretty badly. Kudos for the cops and truckers. Good job” and “It’s nice to see this had a happy ending and kudos to the truckers. The few I know are among the most decent and patient (they’d have to be) people I know.”
Another commenter noted how truckers have assisted in other circumstances, writing: “When we are on a wreck scene or medical emergency on our interstates, the truckers block traffic from speeding around us. They form rolling roadblocks closet to the scene for those impatient folks who use any measure to get around us. They are AWESOME and the backbone of America!”