Border Patrol agent, DNR officer save suicidal man on MacArthur Bridge

Posted at 4:40 PM, Mar 16, 2017
and last updated 2017-03-16 16:40:57-04

A border patrol agent and park are ranger are being called heroes.

When a man tried jumping off the bridge connecting Belle Isle and Detroit, the two jumped into action, quickly saving him while risking their own lives.

During Monday's snow showers, a different type of storm was brewing on the MacArthur Bridge.

After finishing her shift around 4:30 p.m., Park ranger Jennifer Etienne noticed a couple on the bridge connecting Belle Isle and Detroit.

"Something about it seemed a little off," she said. "I kept trying to talk to the individuals and see what was going on and they weren't really acknowledging me. She was crying which was a big indication and saying 'don't do this! Don't do this!' and that was the big red flag for me."

The woman's husband was suicidal. The park ranger immediately flagged down border patrol agent Marco Humerez who tried talking to the man.

Humerez said, "He was quiet. He has his back up against the railing."

The man then pushed his wife away and tried jumping into the river.

"He turned around. He started climbing the rail that's when we moved in," he said.

Jennifer and Marco stopped the man from going over. Detroit police arrived and took him to the hospital.

"It all happened so fast as you would imagine," Jennifer explained. "The border patrol agent jumped on the individual and I grabbed hold of his upper body and we pulled him back on to the sidewalk."

The height of the fall might not be fatal, but the icy waters and current in that area could be deadly.

Supervisory Border Patrol Agent Mark Hall explained, "When an individual goes into the water in a situation like this, due to hypothermia their survival expectancy is less than 15 minutes. Within five minutes, arms and legs basically become immobile and the person would just sink to the bottom."

The man is around 6'3" and 250 pounds and could've easily taken both Jennifer and Marco over the railing with him.

"When you put it like that, in retrospect it's terrifying but at the time it was just instinct," she said. "It was slippery and I was in flip flops because I was leaving for the day. But again, that wasn't even a thought."

Marco added, "At the end of the day, we saved this guy and  everyone went home safe."