|Man threatens to jump from SH 19 overpass; interstate traffic diverted for hours|
|Faith Huffman | News-Telegram News Editor|
May 19, 2004 -- Local police had to direct traffic off of Interstate 30 onto the service roads for about three hours Tuesday night while trained negotiators tried to talk a man out of jumping from the State Highway 19 overpass.
The incident concluded around midnight when officers "were able to secure the individual from the railing" with only minimal injuries. The interstate highway was then re-opened to traffic.
The man, whose name was not released, was taken into custody, treated for his injuries and taken to the Hopkins County Sheriff's Office to await evaluations from workers with the Texas Department of Mental Health and Mental Retardation.
Authorities first became aware of the situation at approximately 8:15 p.m. when dispatchers received a number of calls from concerned people. They reported a "subject standing on the Highway 19 overpass in the traffic lanes," Sulphur Springs Police Chief Jim Bayuk said Wednesday morning.
"Upon officer arrival, they made contact with the individual, who threatened to jump off the bridge," Chief Bayuk said. "Lt. Bo Fox was able to coordinate officers to stop vehicular traffic on the interstate, with all traffic directed on the service roads."
Sgt. Norman Sanders and Sgt. Gina Lyles, who are trained in negotiation techniques, were called to the scene in an attempt to talk the man off of the railing. Bayuk and Assistant Chief Robert Stidham arrived later to monitor the negotiations.
"The individual would get really agitated and then wouldn't talk to them," Bayuk said. "He started getting a little bit more agitated going on about three hours. After I conferred with the negotiators, the decision was made to try to approach the individual. It worked out well. We were able to secure the individual from the railing. He was taken in custody and taken to the sheriff's office for MHMR evaluations."