On Sunday, a trooper prevented a suicidal man from jumping off the Sunshine Skyway Bridge that lies across Tampa Bay. The Florida Highway Patrol received a call at about 1 p.m. EST about a suspicious person standing on a wall of the bridge in the northbound lanes of the road way, affecting traffic.
Highway trooper Tabarie Sullivan arrived at the scene to find a man on top of the concrete barrier. One of his legs was dangling off the bridge and the other one was planted on the roadway.
“He had no shirt on and he was drinking a Dr. Pepper,” the trooper reportedly said of the man, as he approached him and tried to talk him into coming down from the wall. He told the man not to do it and that he had more to live for.
“He explained to me, ‘No, actually, I don’t’,” Sullivan said, according to local TV station WJHL. “The entire time I’m thinking, I cannot let this man jump off this bridge. He needs to understand there is more to live or and this too will pass.”
Sullivan offered a listening ear to the man — who hasn’t been identified — and asked him if there was anything he could do to help. They talked a little about life and Sullivan told the man he was married and had a kid, and they discussed his family. They also laughed and joked. As the conversation continued, Sullivan noticed the man’s leg was back on the bridge’s side of the barrier and saw that as his chance.
The trooper jumped on the man and pinned him down. Captain Richard Benton, an off-duty trooper, was passing by the bridge and stopped to help Sullivan get the man off the wall. The man was detained without any further incident.