State trooper recorded rescuing suicidal man on Maryland bridge

A state trooper grabbed a man as he was to jump from the Tydings Bridge in northeast Maryland. The man was later taken to the hospital for treatment. (Maryland State Police via YouTube)
August 13, 2014

A Maryland state trooper is being hailed for saving the life of a man who seemed about to jump off a 90-foot-high bridge.

The state police department posted a video to YouTube on Tuesday that shows the Saturday evening rescue. In the video, captured by a camera in the cruiser, a trooper who was identified by a department spokeswoman as Joshua Kim drives up to a man standing on the shoulder of I-95 on the Millard E. Tydings Memorial Bridge in northeastern Maryland.

The man waves, then puts one leg over the low wall of the bridge. Kim rushes toward him, pulls him to the ground and handcuffs him.

The man was hospitalized afterward, police said.

“This trooper put his own life at risk. He went to grab the man, and the man could have pulled him over the side with him. It was a lot of courage and bravery,” Maryland State Police spokeswoman Elena Russo said. “This was a tragedy completely avoided.”

Kim, 24, has been a state trooper for two years. He said that he was on patrol on Saturday at about 7:30 p.m. and was driving north on I-95. Looking across the Tydings Bridge, which spans the Susquehanna River and is known for its high winds, he saw a man standing on the edge of the road — an unusual sight. Fifty to 75 yards away, he saw a parked black Mercedes.

“As soon as I saw him, I kind of knew. It kind of kicked in,” Kim said. He made a U-turn to the southbound side of I-95 and headed toward the man.

He had little time to think about how to approach the situation when he realized the man was in the process of hoisting himself over the edge. “I had six months of police training, but they can’t give you every scenario,” he said. Instead, it was his high school football training that kicked in.

“If I went high, he would just bring me down with him,” he said. “I got really low. I put all my body weight basically under the wall itself. And that way he couldn’t bring me over.”

He said that he handcuffed the man to prevent him from trying to harm himself in any other manner. In particular, he was concerned that the man might run into traffic, where cars raced past at highway speeds throughout the encounter.

“On the way to the hospital, he thanked me. He apologized,” Kim said. “He talked to me. He basically poured out why he was doing it. He’s been having family issues, some health problems.”

Kim said he knows of two other troopers who have prevented suicides on the Tydings Bridge. On Dec. 30, 2008, a 24-year-old New Jersey man died after jumping from the bridge.

Kim encouraged citizens who observe someone who may be suicidal to call police.

Julie Zauzmer is a local news reporter.
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