Officer Trae Cierzan is scared of heights, and that doesn’t bother Officer Justin Henry.
But they were scared Saturday evening when they answered a call about a possibly suicidal person on a very high highway bridge on I-35W southbound going over Loop 820 eastbound.
As soon as they pulled up, a woman got out of her car and jumped onto the concrete barrier on the bridge.
“We were scared,” Henry said Thursday at a news conference where they talked about how the two saved the woman. “A storm was coming, it was windy and we didn’t know what was going to happen.”
The officers captured the dramatic episode on their dash and body cameras.
Police posted video of the rescue Thursday on Facebook. The tense and frightening event happened just after 7 p.m. Saturday.
“We thought it was going to be just a stranded vehicle,” Henry said. “Maybe it was just a car stalled and someone was looking over the ledge.”
“I didn’t know how high it was and I wasn’t aware of it at that moment,” Cierzan said.
The video shows a woman getting out of a parked car, which had its flashing emergency lights on.
Quickly, the woman steps on top of the barrier on the bridge.
Cierzan said it all happened so fast.
“We tried to get her to talk to us,” said Cierzan, who has just one year experience on the force. “We let our training take over.”
Cierzan and Henry said it was not an everyday call for them.
“Don’t do it,” Henry says in the video. “Come here. Come on. Come on. What’s your name?”
“It doesn’t matter,” the woman says.
“It does matter, “ Henry says.
At this point, Henry tells Cierzan to get on the other side of the woman.
Henry continues to ask for her name as he and Cierzan inch closer to her.
“Please take care of my dog,” the woman tells the officers. “Everybody wants me dead.”
The officers plead for her to get down from atop the barrier.
“Please get down,” Henry repeats.
Within seconds, the officers grab her by the arm and pull her safely off the ledge.
“We’re going to get you some help,” Henry tells the woman.
In the patrol car, the officers continue to comfort her.
“We’re going to help you,” one of the officers says.
It wasn’t until it was over that Cierzan realized how high they had been on the bridge.
“Once she was in the car, I looked over the ledge,” Cierzan said. “It was high.” He said he took a deep breath.
Both officers said they had a job to do that evening.
“This is what we’re supposed to do,” Cierzan said.
Henry, who has been with the department two years, agreed.
“We both are happy at how it ended,” Henry said. “We were at the right place at the right time.”