Detroit police officer risks life to talk down would-be jumper from I-94 overpass

Connor/I-94He knew there was no time to waste.
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A 64-year-old Detroiter was clinging dangerously to the outside of a fence on an I-94 overpass at Connor. As traffic below whirred by late Saturday afternoon, the Detroit police officer climbed precariously onto the ledge and calmly tried to gain the man’s trust.

“He was afraid he was going to get arrested,” Detroit Police Sgt. Eren Stephens told the Motor City Muckraker on Sunday. “He was steadfast about it.”

The officer, assigned to the eastern district, tried to assure the man he would not be arrested. To prove it, he tossed his handcuffs to firefighters once they arrived on the eastbound lane of I-94.

After 20 minutes of urging the man not to end his life, the 64-year-old climbed down a ladder provided by firefighters and was taken to a hospital.

“It appears he might have mental issues,” Stephens said. “Hopefully he’ll get the treatment he needs and will be OK.”

In March, a woman jumped to her death from an I-75 overpass at Southfield.

The Detroit police officer requested anonymity, saying he was only doing his job.

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Steve Neavling, who lives on the city’s east side, is an investigative journalist, a freelance reporter for Reuters and former city hall reporter for the Detroit Free Press. Neavling explores corruption, Detroit’s unsung heroes and the underbelly of an oft-misunderstood city.

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Steve Neavling

Steve Neavling lives and works in Detroit as an investigative journalist. His stories have uncovered corruption, led to arrests and reforms and prompted FBI investigations.

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