A woman who tried to commit suicide Wednesday by jumping off the East Channel Bridge near Mercer Island instead found herself in the arms of a state patrol trooper who grabbed her just seconds before she fell.
The woman called 911 around 10:15 a.m. to tell dispatchers that she planned to take her own life and that her 7-year-old daughter was sitting nearby in a parked car.
Woman: I left my daughter in the car and I want to jump from the bridge! You have to help her! I don’t want her to see me jump from the bridge!
Dispatcher: Are you on the bridge now?
The dispatcher, Mindi Mezek, tries to stall the woman by asking questions about her daughter’s location and what type of car she’s in.
Woman: I just want to jump from the bridge!
Dispatcher: But I need you to give me more information. How old is your daughter?
Woman: She’s 7. She’s crying in the car. She’s crying in the car!
Dispatcher: We don’t want to leave your daughter alone, so we need to find her. You have to wait until the police can get to her. You don’t want her to see you jump. You have to wait until the police can get to her. You have to help me find her. You can’t jump. You can’t let her see you jump, so you have to stay on the phone with me until police can get her, OK?
Woman: Tell her I love her!
“She just wanted to make sure that her daughter was taken care of, so she tried to give a description of where her car was in relation to where she was,” said Sgt. Curt Boyle, a 17-year veteran of the Washington State Patrol, who was among the troopers dispatched to locate the woman before she followed through with her plans.
Troopers had a general idea of where the woman’s car was, but did not immediately know where she was headed.
While the rest of the troopers scoured the west side of the island, Boyle stuck to the east. Before long, he spotted a woman walking over the I-90 bridge that crosses the East Channel of Lake Washington.
“We made eye contact; she looked at me,” he told KIRO Radio. “As I opened the (patrol car) door, she starts running away from me down the bridge saying ‘No, don’t help me. Don’t help me.'”
Boyle had to make a split-second decision.
“I jumped over the jersey wall and chased after her,” he said. “She had actually grabbed the top of the railing and was pushing herself over the railing to go over the bridge. I just dove, grabbed her by the waist and tackled her to the ground.”
Boyle said he wrapped the woman in his arms, and told her everything would be all right.
At the end of the 911 call, sirens can be heard and a male voice – presumably that of Sgt. Boyle – shouts at the woman. He credited 911 dispatchers Mindi Mezek and David Ingram with helping to save the woman’s life.
“If it wasn’t for those (dispatchers) and the other ones working together, she probably would have already gone over.”
The state patrol said the woman was upset about a domestic incident. Her 7-year-old daughter was found safe and brought to patrol headquarters where troopers got her something to eat.