On the morning of June 15, a woman in Fort Pierce, Florida, was facing a dark time. The 20-year-old was poised on a bridge, contemplating a jump.
Someone driving by noticed her, leaning precariously over the side praying, according to The St. Lucie Post. They called it in, and soon Fort Pierce Police Officers Casey Miklosh and Hayden Willis were on the scene.
“We received a call in reference to a female going to jump off the Okeechobee bridge,” Willis told WPBF-TV. “We located no one on the Okeechobee bridge, so we decided to canvas the area. We found a female on Graham Road and 95.”
Miklosh — who has a fear of heights — got out of the patrol car and approached the woman, trying to engage her in conversation.
“Upon speaking with her, she was visibly distraught,” Miklosh said. “She was upset. I noticed while talking with her, that she had, it looked like relatively recent scarring on her arms of cuts.”
Meanwhile, Willis was on the radio, getting the highway below closed down and getting in touch with other local agencies.
“I put it out over the radio that we needed St. Lucie County,” Willis explained. “We needed Florida Highway Patrol. All of those units responded, and they did an amazing job.”
But after five minutes of talk, the woman casually walked across the road to the other side of the bridge and, without pause, put her leg up and over the barrier.
“She didn’t want to speak with me,” Miklosh said. “Upon shutting the highway down, she saw more and more police cars and got more agitated.
“She made a walk towards the other side of the overpass. When she got to the wall, she threw one leg over the wall. And when she did, I was able to run up and I grabbed her by her torso and her pants and I was able to pull her back over the wall.”
After he grabbed her to keep her from going over, other officers joined them and handcuffed the woman. The St. Lucie County Sheriff’s office escorted her to a hospital.
Miklosh and Willis have been praised for their lifesaving efforts, and both of them know how vital the other officer’s actions were.
“That’s the good thing about working with people that you trust greatly,” Willis said. “I had full faith in my partner to do what he needed to do to get her off of the ledge.”
“I’m happy the woman didn’t hurt herself, and I’m glad my partner remained safe,” he added.
“Thanks to the quick efforts of Officer Willis and Miklosh, a woman’s life was saved today,” the Fort Pierce Police Department shared on its Facebook page.
“The two were able to halt traffic on the I-95 near the Okeechobee overpass while stopping the woman from jumping into oncoming traffic,” the department continued.
“A big thank you goes out to Florida Highway Patrol and Saint Lucie County Sheriff’s Office for their assistance.”
“In similar situations, almost 80% of these encounters end unfavorably,” Jennings said. “Officer Miklosh’s quick decision-making saved this woman’s life.”
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