Truck drivers park side-by-side on highway to stop man falling to his death

A group of heroic truckers have banded together on a highway overpass to stop a man from taking his own life.

After police received a call just before 1am local time on Tuesday about the man on a bridge in Oak Park, Michigan, they put out an urgent call for help.

But they never expected the response they received.

Thirteen local truckers quickly made their way to the scene and formed a makeshift platform under the bridge.

When the Michigan State Police arrived, they closed all lanes of the 696 and signalled semi-trailer trucks to stop under the bridge and form a wall, covering both sides of the freeway.

Thirteen truck drivers all responded to the police call for help. Source: Twitter/ Michigan State Police

While the truckers were positioned, the police talked the man into leaving the bridge unharmed.

A man claiming to be a truck driver in the line-up, Chris Harrison, wrote on Facebook that after the ordeal was over, the police stopped at each truck to shake the drivers’ hands and thank them for their efforts.

“We received a call that a man had climbed over the fence of the overpass and we commandeered the truck drivers to stop,” Michigan State Police’s Lt. Mike Shaw, who organised the intervention, told Yahoo Lifestyle.

“In this case, we were able to identify the trigger that led the man to this point and take him to the hospital.” 

What happens next for the man is unknown, but according to Julie Cerel, president of the non-profit American Association of Suicidology, each state has systems in place to ensure a person receives treatment.

“Usually, a person is evaluated in the emergency room to ensure they aren’t acutely suicidal,” Ms Cerel told Yahoo Lifestyle.

“Unfortunately, some learn quickly that the easiest way to leave is to answer in a favourable way; other times a person learns he or she has options and support.”

If a person has a mental health condition that can be treated, they’re given medication, and if they’re homeless, there’s an attempt to secure housing.

“It’s incredible when a method this lethal can be stopped,” Ms Cerel added.

Sgt Kevin Richards Briggs, a retired member of the California Highway Patrol and a crisis intervention specialist, told Yahoo Lifestyle that in similar situations he has anywhere from five minutes to several hours to make an impact.

“I usually introduce myself to the person in crisis and ask their permission to approach,” he said, adding he tries to close the physical gap between him and a subject without endangering his own life.

“If they’re open to it, I ask basic questions about their life, in part as a distraction and to show that someone cares about them.”

Sgt Briggs says it’s key for anyone in his position not to consume the conversation.

“Even if I can relate to the other person’s problems, I keep the focus off me to avoid an unintentional comparison unless I’m directly asked,” he says.

If his efforts don’t resonate, Sgt Briggs calls for backup, be it a person of the same sex or ethnicity, who may succeed in establishing a connection.

He said most of the time people “just want to be heard and validated”.

If you are concerned about the mental health of yourself or a loved one, seek support and information by calling Lifeline on 13 11 14.