Early this morning, thirteen truckers worked with the Michigan State police to form a line of semis under a Detroit-area overpass to prevent a man from jumping off.
At around 3 A.M. today on Michigan interstate 696 near Detroit, a man was contemplating jumping off an overpass to end his life. But police officers from the Michigan State Police, Oak Park Public Safety and Huntington Woods Police Department quickly jumped into action, forcing traffic off the highway and waving through semi trucks so they could line up under the overpass.
According to Lieutenant Shaw, a public information officer with the Michigan State Police, this is actually standard procedure. “This is something that we’ve done for many years,” he told me over the phone. “It’s never really been publicized.”
The whole point, he said, is that if the person were to slip and fall, or if the negotiating officers weren’t successful in talking the person down, “The fall is only a couple feet other than 15 or 20 feet from the overpass onto the concrete below.”
Shaw told me that it’s rare to line the entire highway with trucks. “Usually we only get about one or two semis into position before the person usually...[decides] to come back out and get help,” he told me.
“This one of the unusual times that the person was out there for an extended period of time where we were actually able to line the trucks across the whole underpass.”
Shaw said the police officers took the semi trucks out of line rather than forcing them off the freeway like the other vehicles, and then a trooper lined the trucks up under the overpass with minimal gaps between them.
According to Shaw, the police was able to talk with the gentleman on the overpass, and—after discussing with his family what was bothering him—officers were able to convince him not to jump.
“He was transported by law enforcement to a local hospital, where he’s now getting help,” Shaw told me.
If you or someone you know is having suicidal thoughts, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-8255.