Deputies save suicidal man from jumping off bridge - FOX 13 News

Deputies save suicidal man from jumping off bridge

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Pinellas (FOX 13) -

A split second and a life on the line.

A 24-year-old man, standing on the ledge of the Bay Pines Bridge.

"He's just like, 'Don't talk to me, get away from me, if you get any closer, I'm going to jump," recalled deputy Troy Savetz.

This was it.

"(He had) financial issues. Personal problems after the last couple of months," said Savetz. "It just built up. Yesterday was the day he was going to jump."

But now he has tomorrow.

After numerous 911 calls from panicked drivers, Sgt. Jeff Esterline and Cpl. James Breuckner responded.

They tried, unsuccessfully, to talk him down.

"He was not scared. He said it was his day."

But without even speaking, the deputies decided on another way.

Savetz arrived and start tiptoeing.

"They saw me moving around to the back of him, where he couldn't see me in his blind spot. At which point, I moved up and Corporal Breuckner and Sgt. Esterline kept his focus on them," said Savetz. "I went in and made my move."

At first, the saved man kicks and screams, injuring Deputy Savetz.

Why did they save him?

But then he got into the ambulance.

"He broke down and started crying and thanked us. He said, 'thank you for saving my life.' He didn't realize what he was doing until I grabbed him and saw we actually cared about him."

Savetz says it was training and his ten years of experience that told him a definitive move was necessary.

He knows all too well the pain that comes from calls that don't end the way this one did.

"It's one of the best feelings in the world to know that you actually saved somebody's life and know that not only saving them, but making a difference after it's all said and done by talking to them."

The deputy also left the man with one more present:  Savetz gave his phone number to the man and told him once he is released from the hospital, he can give him a call anytime he wants to talk.

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