SEMINOLE - Three Pinellas County Sheriff’s deputies are credited with saving a man’s life April 6.
Deputies received a call about 9:53 a.m. about a suicidal man standing on the railing of the Bay Pines Bridge in unincorporated St. Petersburg.
Sgt. Jeff Esterline initially attempted to talk the subject off the railing, but deputies said it quickly became evident that the subject intended to jump.
Cpl. James Brueckner then joined Esterline in talking to the subject and engaging him and keeping his attention. As they did this, Deputy Troy Savetz approached the subject from a blind spot and was able to grab him off the railing.
The unnamed 24-year-old suffered only minor injuries from his fall to the roadway. Deputies said he was “initially combative” when they pulled him off the railing. Deputies had to use an electronic control device to subdue him.
The man later thanked Savetz for pulling him off the railing. He was then transported to a local hospital for evaluation. He told deputies he was distraught over financial and relationship issues.
According to deputies, the water below where the subject was standing was only about 1.5 to 2 feet deep over an oyster shell bed.
The three deputies have received Crisis Intervention Training, which is designed to create a mindset in teaching deputies how to recognize mental health issues and deal with them in the most effective manner.
Savetz has been employed by the sheriff’s office since June 8, 2012, Brueckner since June 16, 1997 and Esterline since Dec. 1, 1987.