KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) – The Knoxville Police Department was called for a man that was standing on the guardrail of an interstate bridge just before 9:00 p.m. Sunday night. When officers arrived at the Baxter Ave. overpass that crosses over I-275 they found a man who was threatening to jump off of the bridge. They attempted to speak with the man.
Police say that a short section of I-275 was closed down Sunday night and traffic was diverted off of the interstate and around the Baxter Avenue bridge. KPD negotiators responded to the scene, and after over two hours of negotiations, officers successfully talked a suicidal individual off of an interstate overpass just after 11:00 p.m Sunday.
The man was transported by AMR to an area hospital for evaluation, and one of the negotiators rode with the man in the ambulance to ensure that he felt safe and comforted until being left in the care of hospital staff.
“I am proud of the compassionate and empathetic response of our officers to assist an individual in crisis,” Chief of Police Eve Thomas said. “Crisis negotiators responded without hesitation to help deescalate this situation, while a multitude of Central Business District and West District officers pitched in to ensure this came to a successful resolution. This was a team effort with one singular purpose in mind – to help a person in need.”