PORTLAND – On Thursday afternoon, one woman cared enough to step in when a man tried to kill himself by jumping off an overpass.
Her efforts, and an officer's good grip, managed to save a life.
It was a tag-team effort at Northeast Glisan Street and Interstate 205. A man who seemed determined to jump is grateful three people worked together to stop him.
The fall would have been 32 feet down into a constant stream of traffic.
“I said, ‘wow, that man is not over the rail is he?’” Bonnie Holtgrew said. “I could see him start to want to jump, and then he’d grab the rail.”
She was on the way home last night on Northeast Glisan when she stopped after spotting the stranger at the overpass. In the few minutes it took for police to pull up, Holtgrew tried to keep the man occupied.
“I got off my bike and just kept talking. I’m pretty good at talking I guess,” she said.
As Officer Tyrone Willard with Portland police approached, something drastically changed.
“I was probably about six feet away from him when he started to lean forward and I leaned out and grabbed onto his arm right about here and dropped down onto the ground with his arm,” Willard said.
“I helped him with the other arm, and we pulled him over,” Holtgrew said.
A second officer arrived just in time to lend his muscle. Holtgrew said someone else helped too.
The day after the incident, Holtgrew worried the man she helped save might be mad.
“He thanked me at the hospital and I’m sure if you were there at the hospital he would be thanking you too,” Willard told Holtgrew.
“Oh, I don’t need thanks I’m just glad he’s alive,” Holtgrew said.
One credits forearms, the other credits faith in saving the man. But, whatever the equation--they pulled a man back to life.
KGW reporter Reggie Aqui contributed to this report.