Truck drivers spend long, grueling hours on the highway, but earlier this week, 13 of them still managed to join together to do something truly heroic in Detroit. When a man stood on the edge of a freeway overpass threatening to jump off, the truckers lined their tractor-trailers underneath him, ready to break his fall if necessary.
Troopers had received 911 calls about the distressed man on April 24 at around 1 a.m. As soon as they found him, they closed off both directions of Interstate 696.
“Once we figured out that this is a situation where someone might be contemplating taking their whole life, we shut traffic down [and] we diverted it off onto the side streets,” said Lt. Mike Shaw of the Michigan State Police.
The troopers then asked truck drivers to lend a hand in case the man fell or jumped. Shaw said it’s not out of the ordinary for them to ask for help in situations like these, but they usually only get one semi, since these matters are often resolved fairly quickly.
In this case, it took the police three hours to get the man — who remains unidentified — off the bridge safely. But the troopers didn’t give up on him, and neither did the truck drivers, who made sure to pack in tightly to minimize any possible gaps between them.
“We were able to convince him that this was not the right thing to do, and we were able to get him to a local hospital where he is getting the help that he needs,” Shaw said.
Though one picture of the incredible scene got a lot of attention on social media, Shaw wants to be sure that people understand the full story behind it.
This photo does show the work troopers and local officers do to serve the public. But also in that photo is a man struggling with the decision to take his own life. Please remember help is available through the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255. pic.twitter.com/RBAlCIXT1o— MSP Metro Detroit (@mspmetrodet) April 24, 2018
“In that picture somewhere is somebody that was contemplating ending their own life,” he said. “We want that to be the story, not what Michigan State Police did or what the truckers did, but that the person changed their own mind.”