The first calls to 911 came in shortly after 1 a.m. Tuesday. A man was standing on an overpass, above a highway, and he appeared to be suicidal. The fall could have killed him, but there was also the danger that he could hit a car passing underneath. Police quickly blocked off the highway. That’s when they had an even more ingenious idea.
“The Michigan State Police organized a unique way to help a man who was threatening suicide on a highway overpass: they pulled together multiple semi truck drivers to help shorten the fall,” Fox writes.
The incident shut down highway 696 in Detroit. First one side of the highway, and then the other. The police then began recruiting truck drivers who were willing to pull beneath the overpass to break the man’s fall.
They packed in tightly, 13 in all, and stopped so that their trailers prevented him from making it to the pavement, if he did jump.
On the bridge, police did their best to intervene and convince the man to get help. Eventually, he did. He walked off of the bridge and the police took him to a hospital for psychiatric evaluation.
The incident stopped traffic for roughly three hours, and likely added a hard-to-explain delay to the truckers who sacrificed their time to help save the man’s life. 696 was reopened to traffic around 4:00 a.m.
Most of those going to work on Tuesday morning will never know what had transpired under the bridge just hours before, or how 13 truck drivers stood up for the life of a total stranger in the darkness of a Detroit night.