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At midnight on Tuesday, a man looked down at the traffic from an overpass on Interstate 696 in northern Detroit and considered the fall, police said.
From the photos, it looked like a drop of more than seven metres. By the time the first officers got to the Coolidge Highway bridge – about 1am, Fox 2 reported – the man was still there, deciding which way to go.
Police blocked off the lanes under the bridge, and negotiators started to talk to the man. They urged him to walk off the bridge and continue his life.
Below, the highway was closed in both directions, Fox 2 reported.
There was nothing unusual about any of this. It's routine to shut down roads when someone threatens to jump.
But at some point early on Tuesday morning, while police continued to talk to the man, a semitractor-trailer rig crept past the barricade on the interstate and pulled to a stop directly beneath him.
A second rig joined it. Then another, and another. Onlookers started to film as the trucks formed a sort of bridge beneath the bridge – a safety net of metal to break a fall.
Michigan State Police were organising this, a lieutenant later told The Associated Press. It wasn't the first time they used truckers to stop a suicide attempt, he said, but it was unusual to see so many volunteers.
When the last 18-wheeler pulled up under the bridge before sunrise, there were 13 of them. From one wall of the interstate to the other, it was nothing but rigs, their roofs just a few feet shy of the bridge.
The whole process took three or four hours, the AP wrote. By the end of it, the man who had once been alone with his thoughts had police on each side of him, talking to him, and a row of truckers sitting vigil below, refusing to let him fall.
So the man, whoever he was, walked off the bridge and into a hospital, Fox 2 reported.
Police cleared out of the highway, and the 13 rigs and their drivers also went on their way.
The Washington Post
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