Deputy Talks Distraught Man in Crisis from Jumping Off Bridge
Spokane County Sheriff’s Deputy Hunter Ballou stayed calm while communicating with an extremely distraught male who wanted to end his life. After approximately 15 minutes of talking with the man, Deputy Ballou convinced him to climb back over the railing, hugging Deputy Ballou.
On June 29, 2021, at approximately 1:30 a.m., Spokane County Sheriff’s Deputy Hunter Ballou responded to the report of a man standing on the state line/Appleway Bridge. The man was very upset and threatening to jump from the bridge to end his life.
With the assistance of Liberty Lake Officers, traffic over the bridge was shut down. Deputy Ballou contacted the male as he sat on the outside of the railing, dangling his feet over the water. Looking over the edge, Deputy Ballou could see the water level was very shallow, with large rocks visible from the bridge.
Keeping his distance, not wanting to crowd or excite the man who was clearly in crisis, Deputy Ballou made contact, explaining he was there to help. The man stood up and told the Deputy to get away. Deputy Ballou stepped back but continued to talk calmly with the man. The man said several times he was ready to die as he leaned over the river below. He repeatedly said he would jump while letting go of the railing and starting to fall forward only to catch himself at the last second.
Deputy Ballou ensured medical units were alerted and staged in the area. He also requested to have all the emergency lights turned off to prevent escalating the situation.
After approximately 15 minutes, Deputy Ballou convinced the man to come back over the railing to safety. The male, clearly distraught and emotional, walked toward Deputy Ballou with open arms and hugged him as the man cried.
Deputy Ballou explained the man needed help, and that’s what the medical personnel would provide. The male was transported to the hospital for additional care, which he so clearly needed.