Officer intervenes, saves suicidal man from jumping off overpass

OSCEOLA COUNTY — An Osceola County Sheriff’s Office deputy leapt into action to save a suicidal man on Friday.

Around 11 a.m. on Sept. 22, a K-9 officer with the Osceola County Sheriff’s Office was dispatched to a report of a suicidal subject near the LeRoy area.

The man was sending text messages to his wife, threatening to hurt himself, said Undersheriff Justin Halladay.

“She contacted 911,” he said. “While the officer was enroute, she received more text messages saying he was going to jump off a bridge, so the deputy checked the overpass on 14 Mile Road near U.S. 131 and located the subject.”

When the deputy arrived, the subject was in the process of going over the bridge and preparing to jump into traffic, with one leg over the barrier, Halladay said.

The deputy pulled up and got out of his car to make contact with the subject, he said.

“He started talking with the man, getting his attention and using his name to be more personal,” Halladay said. “All this time he was closing the gap between himself and them to be able to intervene if he could.”

The man spoke of being upset and how things were going badly in his life, so he wanted to end it, Halladay said.

“When the gentleman was distracted, he’d actually made up his mind and was about to jump, the deputy grabbed him in one quick motion and pulled him back over, placing him in protective custody,” he said.

Afterward, the man was taken to a hospital for evaluation.

Halladay is pleased with the deputy’s handling of the situation, which could’ve been tragic on many levels.

“If he would’ve jumped, the man would’ve hurt more people than just himself,” he said. “He could’ve caused an accident with a motorist. The domino effect could’ve been unimaginable.”

The deputy is expected to receive a lifesaving award for his efforts.

“He definitely went above and beyond, and we are so proud of what he did,” Halladay said. “We’re happy it turned out in a positive way and he stopped an individual from making a life-ending decision and potentially harming others.”