LITTLE FERRY, N.J. – A pair of Little Ferry police officers rescued a suicidal 17-year-old girl, grabbing her just as she was about to leap from the Route 46 bridge over the Hackensack River.
The troubled teen repeatedly shouted that she wanted to die, then fought so furiously with an EMT in an ambulance police had to tie her to a gurney, Police Chief Ralph Verdi said.
Police got a call from the girl's mother just before 11 p.m. Saturday saying that her daughter "just drank alcohol and took prescription pills," got into an argument with her and apparently was headed to the bridge to kill herself, the chief said.
Responding to a colleague’s call, Officers James Rose and Adam Warne later found her “sitting with her feet dangling over the bridge rail, facing the water [and] preparing to jump,” Verdi told Daily Voice.
Warne began talking with the teen as Rose “approached from an angle in which she could not see him,” he said.
Both officers then grabbed the girl and pulled her to safety, the chief said.
She began fighting back, though, insisting she wanted to die, he said.
Lt. Joseph Gutierrez arrived as the girl tried to break free, and they both fell over the guard rail onto the highway, with the lieutenant injuring his shoulder, Verdi said.
Handcuffed and placed into the back of the police cruiser, the girl tried kicking out the back window, he said.
Rose and Officer George Shihanian then held her down until an ambulance arrived.
The girl tried to run into oncoming traffic while being led out of the police car but was grabbed by the four officers and placed into the Hackensack University Medical Center ambulance, Verdi said.
The ambulance was headed to New Bridge Medical Center when the girl began fighting with an EMT in the back of the rig, the chief said.
The driver pulled over on Route 17 in Paramus and Shihanian jumped in – joined a short time later by Rochelle Park Detective Chris Bermudez and Officer Franklin Laboy.
They zip-tied her feet together and secured her to the gurney, Verdi said.
“It was an outstanding job all around by our officers with a very troubled girl,” the chief said. “We also got a great assist from Rochelle Park police.
“I hope she gets the help she needs.”
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