Conservation officers stop suicidal man from jumping off MacArthur Bridge in Detroit

Contact: Lt. Joe Molnar, 313-396-6868
Agency: Natural Resources

March 29, 2019

macarthur bridge

Two Michigan Department of Natural Resources conservation officers stopped a suicidal 34-year-old Detroit man from jumping off the MacArthur Bridge earlier today.

Conservation Officers Todd Thorn and Jaime Salisbury were on patrol at Belle Isle Park when they left the island at 12:45 p.m. to fuel their side-by-side ORV. As they were driving over the bridge, Salisbury noticed a man standing on the opposite side of the bridge who, Salisbury said, “just didn’t look right.”

“I kept looking back in the rearview mirror – I saw the man put both hands on the rail, climb over and stand on the back of the railing,” Salisbury said.

Salisbury began driving back, closer to the man’s location, and parked close enough so the officers could discreetly get near him.

“There was a cement barrier between us and the man, so he wasn’t able to see us. He didn’t know we were nearing him,” Salisbury said.

Thorn and Salisbury were able to pull the man back over the railing. After briefly resisting, the man succumbed and began to cry.

“He was pretty emotional once we pulled him over the railing,” Thorn said. “He did try at one point to get back to the railing.”

Before climbing over the railing, the man made a call to a relative. Concerned that he was going to jump off the bridge, the man’s sister and brother-in-law drove to the bridge. Thorn and Salisbury were able to calm the man down and put him in the back seat of his relative’s car while waiting for EMS to arrive.

“He was pretty upset with the whole situation, in tears, telling us he wanted to jump, and nobody cared about him,” Thorn said. “We told him there were two family members there for him, and that we were there for him. Nobody wanted him to jump.”

The relatives told the conservation officers that the man had a troubled past and recently has had some challenging life events.

Detroit Police, Detroit Fire Department and Detroit EMS arrived on scene to assist. Detroit EMS transported the man to the hospital for further evaluation.

The 2,193-foot-long MacArthur Bridge connects Detroit and Belle Isle Park over the Detroit River. DNR conservation officers and Michigan State Police patrol the island to provide public safety within and around the state park.

In December, two conservation officers prevented a suicidal 25-year-old Detroit woman from jumping off the same bridge.

Michigan conservation officers are fully commissioned state peace officers who provide natural resources protection, ensure recreational safety and protect citizens by providing general law enforcement duties and lifesaving operations in the communities they serve.

Accompanying photos are available below for download. Caption information follows.

MacArthur Bridge 1 and 2: Two Michigan DNR conservation officers today stopped a suicidal man from jumping off the MacArthur Bridge, pictured here. The DNR side-by-side ORV is pictured in image 2.

Salisbury-Jaime: Conservation Officer Jaime Salisbury

Thorn-Todd: Conservation Officer Todd Thorn