Police talk man out of jumping off Tarentum Bridge
Police dissuaded a man from jumping off of the Tarentum Bridge on Monday afternoon.
According to Tarentum police Officer Mark Glogowski, he and another officer responded to a 19-year-old Tarentum man who was threatening to jump from the sidewalk side of the bridge around 3 p.m.
Glogowski said Lower Burrell Detective Scott Cardenas, who is trained in suicide prevention, was called to the scene to talk to the man — who was sitting on the outside of the bridge deck, his feet dangling over the side, about 75 feet above the Allegheny River.
Cardenas was able to coax the man back to the sidewalk at around 3:50.
The side of the bridge the man was on has a chain-link fence about 10 feet high intended to prevent pedestrians from going over the side.
But Glogowski said the man went through a gate used for access to the bridge's under structure. How he managed to get through the normally locked gate is unclear.
“To be honest, it looked like it may have been unlocked,” Glogowski said. “But he did say he does strange things when he gets angry.”
Glogowski said he secured the gate after the incident.
He said the man was peacefully taken into custody and taken to Allegheny Valley Hospital in Harrison for observation.
Glogowski said there were some nerve-racking moments during the conversations with the potential jumper.
“He kept saying he was going to jump at 8 o'clock,” Glogowski said. “At one point he leaned against a piece of wood, and it fell off.
“When we got there, he had his shoes off and his wallet out,” he added. “When clothes start to come off, you get nervous.
“It's like going out the way you came in.”
Glogowski said there doesn't seem to be any connection between Monday's incident and a July 17 incident in which a man was talked out of jumping off of the New Kensington Bridge.
The incident comes only about nine hours after the New Kensington-bound lanes of the bridge reopened after being closed all weekend.
Bridge traffic was further disrupted Monday by a bridge inspection that limited traffic to a single lane in both directions.
But traffic was barely affected by Monday's incident, because only about one-eighth-mile of the right lane on the Tarentum-bound side was closed.
About 21,000 motorists use the bridge each day, according to PennDOT.
R.A. Monti is a freelance reporter for Trib Total Media.