Police talk possible jumper off bridge

By Karen Zautyk

A report of a possible jumper on a Passaic River bridge last Wednesday afternoon
sent local police on a hunt along the waterway and through this and neighboring
towns in a concerted effort to find the man and save a life. Which they did.
Police said that a call came in about 12:55 p.m. from someone who reported seeing a man in the middle of the railroad trestle at Passaic Ave. and North Midland Ave. and was concerned for his safety.
Kearny Police Sgt. Donald Felle told The Oberver that when police responded to that area, they found no one. Considering the reported location, they also checked the railroad bridges on Kearny Ave. and Schuyler Ave.
Meanwhile, Kearny officers, with the help of police from other jurisdictions, were also checking the river spans, including the Belleville Turnpike, Clay St., Jackson St., Bridge St. and Stickle bridges. As well as the unused “Jacknife” rail bridge at Passaic and Johnston Aves. It was on that bridge that East Newark officers first spotted the man.
Felle said the individual was inside the mechanism of the bridge.
Kearny Police Officer Thomas Bannon approached the man, who, Felle said, appeared to have “emotional issues.”
Bannon spoke with him and, “after several minutes,“ persuaded him to come down.
The 44-year-old man was cooperative, Felle said, and was taken by Kearny EMS to Clara Maass Medical Center in Belleville for evaluation.
Felle said half-a-dozen KPD officers were on the scene and had been prepared to launch rescue boats, but “this time, we didn’t have to.”

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