For more than two hours yesterday, a man stood on the edge of an Marietta, Ga., overpass, threatening to jump. Police had closed I-75 in both directions, snarling traffic for miles. Now, they were trying to coax him down, recounts the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. One officer grabbed the man’s arms, but he fell backward, out of the officer’s grasp. Eventually, he slipped out his shirt and fell about 30 feet onto the highway. His injuries weren’t life-threatening.
It was the second such incident in the area in two months. Officials are rethinking their approach to these costly and dangerous traffic-snarling standoffs. They’re considering equipping emergency response trucks with inflatable air bags; limiting the mobility of potential jumpers who now can roam freely over wide spans, such as interstate bridges; and trying to find ways to get police and negotiators to the scene faster. “We learned some things from this,” said George Hatfield, Cobb County’s deputy police chief. “Hopefully, we’re going to purchase some equipment so that if this situation occurs again, we’ll have something that’ll help us.”