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CPD officers honored for saving man trying to jump from overpass

COLUMBUS (WCMH) -- Last September Columbus Police Officers saved a man attempting to jump off a bridge into traffic on Interstate 71.

The whole thing was captured on a police body camera. On Wednesday those officers were recognized for their bravery at a "Bless the badge" ceremony held by Central Ohio Crime Stoppers.

NBC4 spoke with first two officers to arrive at the scene about what happened that day.

It was on East Broad Street where a 911 call turned into a life and death situation for police officers and a suspect.

Columbus Police Officer Scott Wright can be seen in his body camera jumping out of his cruiser and sprinting to help Officer Ryan Erney who's trying to arrest that man. The 911 caller told police the man was assaulting an individual with a piece of wood.

"When I arrived I saw Officer Erney had his service weapon drawn and the suspect reaching into his waistband, so the serious situation became extremely serious," said Officer Wright.

Officers said the man yelled "kill me" then tried to jump off the bridge into traffic below on Interstate 71.

"He took off running and I went after him and Scott was pretty close behind, so I am lucky he was there," said Officer Erney.

As Officer Erney held on the man's arm, Officer Wright grabbed the man's pants and two other officers arrived and held his legs, yanking him back to safety.

"If he would have fell down onto that freeway not only his life, but the cars travelling underneath him there could have been wrecks down there that were fatal," said Officer Wright.

Those four Officers Scott Wright, Ryan Erney, Jared Barsotti, and Alan Bennett were awarded the Bryan Hurst/Tony Luzio Officer of the Month for their heroic duty that day. All first responders had their badges blessed by several different faiths at the 9th Annual Bless the Badge ceremony.

"Lord bless those that wear the badge, bless what it is symbolic of the service father," said Chaplain Jim Meacham with the Westerville Police.

City Council member Michael Stinziano told the crowd that 128 law enforcement officers have lost their life in the line of duty nationally last year, four of them were from Ohio. Also 93 firefighters have died while on duty, two from Ohio.


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