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Law enforcement saves man prepared to jump from I-90 overpass

Law enforcement saves man prepared to jump from I-90 overpass

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Law enforcement saved a man who was threatening to jump Thursday morning from an overpass on Interstate 90 east of Rapid City. 

Someone called 911 around 11:30 a.m. to report a man on the Elk Vale Road overpass, said Gunnar Grass, an officer with the Box Elder Police Department. 

The overpass has a sidewalk and a chain-link fence that curves toward the bridge and away from the highway to prevent people from jumping off, Grass said. But the man had shimmied his way onto the outside of the fence by walking along a five-inch ledge while grabbing onto the fence with his hands. 

The 42-year-old man appeared to be having a mental health crisis and was saying he was going to jump onto the interstate, Grass said. 

The Box Elder and Rapid City police and fire departments, the Pennington County Sheriff's Office and the Highway Patrol worked to shut down eastbound traffic on the interstate and save the man. 

Grass said it was too dangerous for an officer to crawl along the outside of the fence, so instead he reached over the barrier to grab onto the man's arm while other officers held onto him by reaching through the fence. Officers spoke with the man and tried to keep him calm for about 10 minutes until a Rapid City ladder truck arrived. First responders riding in the basket rescued him. 

The man was then taken to Regional West, the mental health hospital, for evaluation and care. The interstate re-opened around noon. 

Anyone experiencing suicidal thoughts can call the Suicide Prevention Lifeline at (800) 273-8255. More resources are available at www.sdsuicideprevention.org.

— Contact Arielle Zionts at arielle.zionts@rapidcityjournal.com

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