SAYREVILLE — A team of police officers talked a 24-year-old man into climbing to safety during a 3½-hour ordeal in which he threatened to jump from a Route 9 bridge that spans the Raritan River, Middlesex County Prosecutor Bruce J. Kaplan and Chief John Zebrowski of the Sayreville Police Department announced today.
The man, whose identity was not released, was unharmed but was taken to Raritan Bay Medical Center in Perth Amboy for observation following the incident that ended at 2:57 a.m. on Sept. 8.
Sayreville police rushed to the Edison Bridge at 11:40 p.m. on Sept. 7 after a motorist called saying a man was walking along the northbound shoulder of the bridge, and was looking at the river below.
Officer Michael Theile of the Sayreville Police Department arrived at the bridge and found the man on the outside of the safety railing, standing on the ledge and holding the railing.
Theile repeatedly attempted to engage the man in conversation, calmly convincing him to not to let go of the railing and fall. The distance from the top of the bridge to the river is 125 feet.
Police immediately contacted the Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Special Operations Response Team, or SORT unit, which dispatched Michael Daniewicz, a crisis negotiator for SORT and an investigator for the Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office.
Daniewicz and Theile continued talking with the man, who eventually agreed to climb back over the railing to safety. Before being taken to the hospital, the man was permitted to speak briefly with his family, who were called by police and waited at the foot of the bridge.
During the incident, police cordoned off the northbound lanes of the bridge, and reopened the span to traffic at 3:20 a.m.