STAMFORD — A city police officer’s instincts prevented a woman from becoming another victim at an Interstate 95 overpass notorious for suicide plunges.
Officer Michael Dube, a 19-year veteran of the Stamford Police Department, quickly developed a rapport with the 30-year-old woman who was found dangling off a small overhang of the I-95 exit 9 bridge on East Main Street early Wednesday morning.
Sgt. Brian Butler said Dube flew “by the seat of his pants” to establish a trust with the woman, who initially told him to stay away. As State Police stopped traffic below on I-95 northbound around 5 a.m., Butler said Dube continued to talk to the woman and gained her permission to move closer.
Butler said the woman eventually agreed to climb over the railing of the bridge and she was taken to Stamford Hospital.
“He got within a few feet of her and was quickly able to establish a rapport and dialogue with the woman,” said Butler, who pulled a man to safety who was trying to jump off the nearby Blachley Road I-95 overpass in 2009.
Butler said the woman, who has a history of psychiatric issues, left a suicide note at her home addressed to her parents.
Butler said officers are trained to deal with these type of situations and professional negotiators usually respond to the scene.
”But at 5 in the morning on something like this, you don’t have time to call them in," he said.
Butler said once an officer builds a rapport with the person, it’s also best to not interrupt the relationship by bringing someone else into the situation.
”She stated she was very tired and she went to the bridge because she knew other people succeeded at taking their lives there,” Butler said.
The last suicide at the bridge occurred in March 2017 when Abbey Meany, 27, a single mother from Stamford, jumped into the northbound lanes of I-95 and was struck and killed by a car.
Sal Buchetto, a beloved Cloonan Middle School science teacher, jumped to his death from the span in 2014. Buchetto taught generations of Stamford residents and his death brought attention to the bridge.
Officials have said the bridge has become known for suicide attempts because of its low railing. However, a planned state project could replace the bridge as soon as next year.
If you know someone who is in need of assistance please attempt to get them professional assistance through an organization such as National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. https://suicidepreventionlifeline.org/