BYRON TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WOOD) — Troopers and deputies were able to save a young man from jumping off an overpass onto the busy highway below.
It happened Nov. 11. Video from Michigan State Police shows deputies talking to a man sitting on the ledge of M-6, looking down onto traffic speeding past on US-131 in Byron Township.
Sgt. Tonya Walkons with the Kent County Sheriff’s Office pleaded with the despondent man on the other side of the ledge.
“I have a son a little bit older than him. Just kept him telling him that he is loved and he is cared for. Just trying to get him to look at me and direct him to look up … because he kept looking at his phones.”
Michigan State Police Trooper Eric Brogger also noticed time wasn’t on their side while reading the man’s body language.
“He was using his arms and almost testing the friction underneath on the seat there to see how much it was going to take to go over,” Brogger said. “That’s when we made the decision that we had to act.”
Walkons added, “At one point, I thought he was going to go because he started lifting himself. I just started talking louder and louder to distract him.”
Brogger walked up behind the man and pulled him backward, away from the highway below.
“We are here to help you, brother. It is going to be fine,” Brogger said as the young man sobbed. “There are better days, my friend.”
Deputies and officers told him he was not under arrest or in trouble. Kneeling down as the young man sat on the street, another deputy put a hand on his shoulder.
“You are loved,” a deputy said. “You may not know it in this moment, but you are. Everyone has horrible (expletive) days and this is your day. You had a bad day. And tomorrow’s going to be a better day. It will.”
Since then, Walkons said the man is getting the help he needs after getting another chance at life.
“At that moment in time, he was at the lowest he’s probably ever felt,” she said. “Telling him he’s cared for, I hope he’s better today and knows that he’s loved.”
Brogger added, “It didn’t matter who the person was up there. Everybody just knew it was a person up there. They needed help and that’s what happened.”
MSP expressed its gratitude for the man’s safety and reminded people to reach out for help in times of need.