“Selfless work:” Deputies save lives of 2 suicidal individuals on freeway in 7-hour span

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MILWAUKEE -- Officials with the Milwaukee County Sheriff's Office are praising two deputies who saved separate suicidal individuals on the freeway Monday, September 18th.

The first incident happened around 7:30 a.m.

Christine Camarillo

"I was not in work mode. I was 'listen to my music, civilian mode' and make it to work so I could begin my day." Deputy Christine Camarillo said. "That kinda changed when I entered the highway that day."

Sheriff's officials said in a news release a deputy heading to work in her personal vehicle spotted a naked woman on the freeway in the Marquette Interchange. The deputy stopped and had to tackle the woman in order to prevent her from continuing into the lanes of traffic.

"She looked like she was in distress. She was nude, throwing her clothes off the highway, so I knew it was a mental health situation right away," Camarillo said.

Marquette Interchange

The woman was non-verbal and combative, officials said.

"My first thought was she could end up getting hit by a car," Camarillo said.

A good Samaritan also stopped, called 911 and provided a blanket at the deputy’s request to cover the 29-year-old woman until she was transported by Bell Ambulance to Froedtert Hospital.

"We need brave women and brave men keeping the community safe. It's definitely a needed job!" Camarillo said.

On Monday afternoon, just after 2:30 p.m., dispatchers received a call about a pedestrian on I-794 southbound walking on the Hoan Bridge.

"Before we got out and made contact, he stepped over the wall and he was straddling the wall," Deputy Mason Kohlhapp said. "He stated he had nothing to live for."

Responding deputies found a man to be in a crisis situation, and he was straddling the wall preparing to jump. The deputies were able to talk with him and get him to come back safely to the roadway.

"He started to comply and we were able to take him off the Hoan safely," Kohlhapp said.

Mason Kohlhapp

The 60-year-old man was distraught and taken to Psychiatric Crisis Services (PCS), where he was admitted.

"We never know what's going to happen," Kohlhapp said.

“The public does not always hear about the life-saving actions of our deputies. I applaud the good Samaritan who risked her own safety to help a woman clearly in crisis, and I’m proud of the selfless work these deputies performed to help save the lives of other people in distress, without regard to the danger they themselves faced," Acting Sheriff Richard Schmidt said in the release.