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Off-duty sheriff’s deputy saves man from jumping off Hoan Bridge

MILWAUKEE -- An off-duty Milwaukee County Sheriff's Office deputy made an unexpected stop after work and because of it he's now being called a life-saver.

"I finished my shift... I drive over the Hoan Bridge every day," said Milwaukee County Sheriff's Deputy Benjamin Leuzinger.

Benjamin Leuzinger

Deputy Benjamin Leuzinger was driving home on Thursday, April 11, when he spotted something that didn't seem right and called it in.

"When a car is disabled on the Hoan Bridge, it's never a good thing. It usually means that someone's, sadly, probably going to attempt to jump and commit suicide," said Deputy Leuzinger.

Realizing he needed to step in quickly, Deputy Leuzinger pulled over and threw his car into park and hit his hazard lights.

 

"I turned my flashers on because I knew something was wrong," said Deputy Leuzinger.

The man was upset and teetering near the edge.

"We always deal with people on the worst days of their lives, and I truly believe that this was probably one of the worst days of this man's life," Leuzinger said.

A life Leuzinger knew he had to save.

"I pretty much pulled him away from the wall. His front passenger door was open so I sat him down in the front passenger seat," said Leuzinger. "I talked with him about his family. I just tried to put some light into it of how bad this truly could have been."

Leuzinger stayed and talked with the man for about ten minutes.

"He looked up and said, 'thanks for stopping, officer. I appreciate it,'" said Leuzinger.

A level of thanks Leuzinger says he's happy to receive but is just glad he was there.

"So that was a great feeling and I got home and I honestly looked up and thanked God that I was in the right place at the right time," Leuzinger said.

The right time to just talk.

Leuzinger says this was the first time he's had to intervene with someone who was in distress, and credits his training and communication skills for getting the man to safety.

If you think you or someone you know may be at risk for suicide, call the National Suicide Hotline at 1-800-273-8255.

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