Natchez, Vidalia police officers stop jumper on bridge

Published 12:10 am Tuesday, April 16, 2013

NATCHEZ — Natchez police officers successfully stopped a man from jumping off the Mississippi River Bridge Monday afternoon.

Detective Jerry Ford said the police department received several calls Monday at approximately 12:30 p.m. regarding a man walking along the ledge of the west bound bridge.

Natchez and Vidalia police officers responded to the scene and stopped traffic on that side of the bridge.

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Natchez Police Lt. Craig Godbold said he arrived and began working with Vidalia officers to distract the man standing on the ledge.

“In those situations, your best bet is to distract him long enough to get an officer to pull him down,” Godbold said. “I tried to keep him distracted while another officer came up behind him and jerked him down.”

Instead of attempting to talk them out of jumping, Godbold said getting the person down and out of harm’s way as quickly as possible is the goal in those situations.

“There’s not a whole lot of talking you can do in those kinds of scenarios,” Godbold said. “If they’re serious about it, they’re already gone by the time you get there.”

Godbold said Monday’s situation wasn’t a typical one for him.

“I’ve been with the police department for 25 years, and that’s probably the third one I’ve seen,” Godbold said. “It’s just doesn’t happen a lot here.”

Ford said after the man was safely pulled from the ledge, officers transported him to Natchez Regional Medical Center.

“They’re going to keep him overnight, and there’s no charges in a situation like this,” Ford said. “We try to preserve life and, basically, we’re just trying to get him where he can get the help he needs.”