MSP recognizes troopers who saved suicidal man
Nine Michigan State Police (MSP) troopers from the Metro North Post recently received special recognition from MSP Director Col. Kriste Kibbey Etue for the care and compassion they showed when dealing with a man who was suicidal.
In the early morning hours of April 24, Trooper Arthur Williams was dispatched to a call about someone sitting on an overpass over I-696 in Huntington Woods. In talking with the distraught man, Williams learned the man was upset over losing custody of his 2-year-old son. He was drinking and threatened to jump from the overpass if he didn’t get to see the boy soon.
Recognizing the seriousness of the situation, additional officers and troopers responded, including Sgt. Aaron Weinrick, who positioned himself as close as he could to the man to keep him communicating, all the while coordinating the actions of other troopers who were performing various roles. Concerned the man would carry through with his threat of jumping, Troopers William Denniston and Alexander Martinez assisted with traffic control, shutting down the impacted portion of the freeway.
At the same time, Williams and Troopers Anthony Stafford and Bronse Gavin gathered semi-trucks that were stopped on the freeway and moved them into position below the overpass to limit the distance to the ground if the man decided to jump. A total of 13 truckers assisted, covering both sides of the freeway for hours
While this coordination was occurring, Tropper Marcus Wise was on the overpass carefully gleaning any information he could from the limited information the man was sharing about his son’s mother. Astutely, he figured out a custody hearing was held in Genesee County and a search of court records led him to identify the mother. Trooper Tyhrann Howard then located the woman at work and arranged for her to travel to the bridge.
After four hours, with the ex-wife now on-scene and assistance from a negotiator from the Huntington Woods Police Department, the man eventually agreed to come down from the bridge and was taken to an area hospital for evaluation.
Unbeknownst to anyone at the scene, a news photographer captured a photograph and video of the trucks lined up, which he then posted on social media, bringing the incident into international spotlight.
In his role as public information officer, F/Lt. Michael Shaw saw the image on social media and recognized he had an opportunity to direct the dialogue beyond just recognition for the members, but also to bring important public awareness to suicide prevention.
Each of their efforts positively reflected on the MSP and no doubt resulted in saving this man’s life.