Watch: Conn. officer climbs over bridge’s guard fence to rescue distressed woman on ledge
“Sgt. Ashley Harkins swiftly and skillfully climbed over the safety fence, putting herself in a perilous position on the narrow ledge above the chilly, flowing river,” State Police wrote in a statement
By Justin Muszynski
OLD SAYBROOK, Conn. — Two state police sergeants are credited with saving the life of a distressed woman who was found sitting on a ledge of a bridge about 100 feet above the Connecticut River earlier this week.
Troopers received several 911 calls on Monday about the woman who was sitting atop the Baldwin Bridge on Interstate 95 on the Old Saybrook and Old Lyme town line, according to Connecticut State Police.
Body camera footage from the incident released Thursday shows Sgt. Matthew Belz calmly approach the woman and ask her what’s wrong. He then tells her that whatever got her on the opposite side of the fencing that separates motorists and pedestrians from the ledge of the bridge is “something we can work on.”
While Belz continues talking to the distressed woman and builds a rapport with her, state police Sgt. Ashley Harkins climbs over the fence apparently without the woman noticing and slowly gets behind her to make sure she doesn’t fall, the bodycam footage shows.
Harkins then helps reposition the woman and gets behind her once again with both arms on either side of her. She squats down to allow the woman to use her legs as a boost to climb back over the fence where Belz helps her down and radios for an ambulance, the video shows.
“Sgt. Ashley Harkins swiftly and skillfully climbed over the safety fence, putting herself in a perilous position on the narrow ledge above the chilly, flowing river,” state police wrote in a statement Thursday.
“We applaud the quick, decisive actions of Sgt. Harkins and Sgt. Belz in saving the life of the female.”
State police used the incident as a reminder that anyone contemplating suicide is encouraged to call 988 for immediate help, 24/7.