Caught on Camera: Officer Saves 19 Year Old from Jumping off Hot Springs Overpass

"The longer I was there, the more she was thinking about jumping."

HOT SPRINGS, Ark. - A 19-year-old woman tiptoed back and forth between life and death on an overpass in Hot Springs Tuesday morning. 

A stranger in a uniform saved her from the 35-foot drop just in time. 

"Hot Springs 911," a dispatcher said. 

"Um, yes," a woman said. "There is a lady trying to jump off the bridge." 

Help was on the way in the form of Officer Bryan Caldwell.

"She's trying to jump?," he said in the 911 call.

"That's affirmative," a dispatcher said. 

"Okay, en route," he responded.

"When the lady saw the officer pull up, she stood up and stepped over the railing of the bridge and started moving away from him," said Cpl. Kirk Zaner, the public information officer for Hot Springs police. 

Officer Caldwell tried to talk to her and close the distance between them.

"The longer I was there, the more she was thinking about jumping," he said. 

In the video, the woman looks away from him to down below, a 35-foot drop from the Westinghouse overpass.

"He knew he only had seconds to act," Zaner said. 

There was no room or time for mistakes.

In the video, Officer Caldwell grabs her, pulls her to safety and holds her down while they wait for an ambulance.

He made a split-second decision no amount of training could prepare him for.

"You just have to be prepared to step in and save somebody's life and that's what he did," Zaner said. "There's never a routine day in policing." 

Officer Caldwell found the woman had been suicidal and abusing drugs and was younger than he thought.

"I did explain that to her that she's 19," he said. "She has her whole life ahead of her. Apparently, she didn't have anybody in her life who was willing to talk to her or anything like that. So I basically was the only person there who was willing to listen to her at the time."

But even the biggest acts of heroism go without a thank you.

"At today's point, she probably wasn't thankful that I prevented her from doing it because that's what she was wanting to do," Caldwell said. "But maybe tomorrow."

A tomorrow, a second chance a 19 year old owes to a stranger in a uniform.

"I just try to make the world a better place when I go home than it was when I came in," Caldwell said. 

Officer Caldwell also went to the hospital with the woman where Zaner said she is getting the medical treatment she needs. 

Caldwell has devoted his life to helping others, serving in the U.S. Air Force and spending the last 13 years at the Hot Springs Police Department. 

"But today was a first for me," he said. "That's one thing about the job. You just never know what you're going to face. Try not to think about it. You just come in, do your job and take whatever comes to you."


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