Share This Page

Jump from 9th Street Bridge in New Kensington averted

| Wednesday, July 17, 2013, 1:51 a.m.
Eric Felack | Valley News Dispatch
A man who police say was threatening to jump into the Allegheny River sits on a Ninth Street Bridge pier in New Kensington while police on the bridge deck try to calm him on July 16, 2013. The Valley News Dispatch does not report on suicide attempts unless they occur in public areas.
Eric Felack | Valley News Dispatch
An unidentified man stands on a Ninth Street Bridge pier in New Kensington and threatens to jump while police and a friend on the bridge deck above try to reason with him on July 16, 2013. The Valley News Dispatch does not report on suicide attempts unless they occur in public areas.
Eric Felack | Valley News Dispatch
A man who threatened to jump off the Ninth Street Bridge in New Kensington is hugged by the man who convinced him to climb back up to the roadway on Tuesday, July 16, 2013.

A potential suicide was averted Tuesday when a New Kensington man was talked off a bridge pier under the Ninth Street Bridge.

New Kensington Detective Dino DiGiacobbe said a friend of the 27-year-old man managed to talk him into climbing up a 10-foot access ladder and onto the bridge deck shortly before 9 p.m.

Police would not identify the man, who was taken to Allegheny Valley Hospital in Harrison for a psychiatric evaluation.

The Valley News Dispatch does not report suicide attempts unless they occur in a public place.

DiGiacobbe said Arnold police received a call from the man's former girlfriend earlier saying that he might hurt himself. Arnold and New Kensington police were alerted to be on the lookout for him in the late afternoon or early evening.

DiGiacobbe said that a woman driving onto the Ninth Street Bridge about 8:10 p.m. alerted police that she spotted a man running on the bridge and then climbing over the side.

Traffic was shut down on both ends of the bridge as police started a dialogue with the man, who was sitting on the bridge pier about midway across the Allegheny River.

The New Kensington Fire Department Water Rescue Team had two boats in the water within 15 minutes of the call, ready to attempt a rescue if the man jumped.

Police brought his ex-girlfriend and some friends to the scene to talk to him.

“He (said) that he was contemplating jumping,” DiGiacobbe said, adding that the man had threatened to hurt himself in the past.

“He just stated that he's dealing with some issues,” the detective said.

DiGiacobbe said police located an unidentified friend and brought him to the scene.

“Within five minutes of his friend getting there, he talked him up.

“He came up and they embraced,” he said, adding that it was an emotional scene with the troubled man screaming and crying.

DiGiacobbe said the friend, who he believes was located in Brackenridge, got into an ambulance with the would-be jumper and accompanied him to the hospital.

DiGiacobbe praised the cooperation New Kensing-ton received from other police departments including Arnold, Lower Burrell, Upper Burrell, East Deer, Tarentum and Brackenridge.

“The other departments were instrumental in locating a friend of his and bringing him to the scene,” the detective said.

The detective credited three officers, in particular, as playing key roles: Westmoreland County Deputy Sheriff Steve Felder, the first to arrive, and two trained crisis negotiators, Lower Burrell Detective Scott Cardenas and New Kensington Officer Robert Laporte.

“From the time of the call, it was just great cooperation between all the departments,” DiGiacobbe said.

It was the second recent bridge incident.

On June 26, Greggory Felton, 28, of Tarentum jumped to his death from the Tarentum Bridge shortly before 11 p.m. after escaping from a mental health treatment facility in West Deer about an hour before.

Felton had survived a jump from the same bridge in May 2009, police said.

Tom Yerace is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-226-4675 or tyerace@tribweb.com.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.