Independence police credit technology, communication and bravery for saving suicidal woman

Officer Andrew March saved a suicidal woman on I-480 bridge last month. (Source: Independence Police Dept.)
Officer Andrew March saved a suicidal woman on I-480 bridge last month. (Source: Independence Police Dept.)

INDEPENDENCE, OH (WOIO) - Training and quick reflexes helped save the life of a woman who was threatening to commit suicide on I-480 last month.

"It was a combination of technology, communication and bravery of the officer all coming together," said Independence Chief of Police Michael Kilbane.

The morning of April 20, a police dash cam in Officer Andrew March's cruiser captured a distraught woman. She had climbed to near the top of fencing along the Valley View Bridge in Independence. Officer March got out of his car, sprinted to the woman and jumped into the air to pull her down to safety. He was successful.

"Andrew March is a hero," Kilbane said. "He didn't hesitate one bit. He jumped into a dangerous situation without even thinking about it. He did the right thing and did it as well as you could expect."

Kilbane said the woman was taken to a local medical facility and is doing better.

Police learned of her crisis after receiving a call from help from a concerned loved on. They reported to police that the woman had sent text messages indicating something was wrong. That call to police gave dispatchers enough information to be on the lookout for the woman and her car.

"Our dispatch was able to use our remote camera, that we have here in the city, to monitor the bridge and keep it under surveillance," Kilbane said.

The camera the chief referred to is on top of the Crown Centre building on Rockside Road.

Dispatchers spotted the woman's car and were able to rush officers to the scene- putting Officer March in a position to react.

The dash cam video illustrates how decisive officers must be under pressure. Kilbane said they are many takeaways.

"If you see something say something," Kilbane said. "If you see something that looks out of sorts- if you see somebody who looks like they're in crisis… I like to tell people the police are in the business of being bothered. We'd rather come out and have a good resolution to a situation like this than have something tragic happen because nobody bothered to let us know."

Kilbane said the video and Officer March's account may likely become part of training sessions for officers in Independence and other communities.

March's brother is also an officer with the Independence Police Department. March's father is a retired police chief.

Copyright 2018 WOIO. All rights reserved.