Wood County deputies to get award for stopping overpass jumper

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PARKERSBURG, WV (WTAP) - Two Wood County sheriff's deputies will receive a Lifesaving Award for stopping a man who tried to jump off a bridge in Wood County.

According to Wood County Sheriff Steve Stephens, the incident happened at 9:19 a.m. Wednesday on the I-77 overpass bridge over Route 50, just outside the Parkersburg city limits.

Deputies responded to a call about a man on the overpass, acting suspicious and looking over the guardrail of the bridge down onto Route 50.

Senior Deputy Charlie Frazier was the first to arrive on the scene. He saw the man standing off the south end of the overpass bridge.

Frazier slowly approached the man and tried to talk to him, but the man started walking backwards onto the bridge, then threw his wallet onto the ground, telling Frazier he could find his address and a contact person to notify "when this is over."

As the man began walking backwards into traffic lanes on I-77, Frazier ran toward the man, who then started climbing the wall and guardrail to jump over the bridge. However, Frazier was able to subdue him with a bear hug to prevent him from climbing further.

The man had locked his hands onto the guardrail and wouldn't let go, but Frazier kept holding onto him while Deputy Tim Allen, who had been blocking traffic on Route 50 below the overpass, went onto the bridge to help secure the man.

The man was taken into custody and another cruiser arrived to take the man to a mental-health facility for treatment.