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CHP convince man not to jump off Highway 101 overpass, ending 14-hour traffic jam

Traffic along Highway 101 in Mountain View was backed up for more than 14 hours after a person threatened to jump off an overpass. Image courtesy Mountain View Police Department.

The California Highway Patrol spent close to 14 hours and 45 minutes on Tuesday negotiating with a man who threatened to jump off the Old Middlefield Way offramp over Highway 101 in Mountain View. CHP officials say they were able to convince him to come back over the railing, and took him into custody as of 10:45 p.m.

CHP received reports around 8 a.m. that a man was walking along the offramp, and officers who arrived saw him sitting on the south railing facing northbound traffic, according to officer Dave LaRock. Traffic was immediately shut down for all northbound lanes as crisis negotiators arrived to talk to the man, LaRock said.

Over the lengthy negotiations that lasted well into the night, LaRock said the CHP brought several family members of the man from Marin County to help aid them in their efforts.

"Eventually the subject voluntarily came to the other side of the railing and, without resistance, was taken away for mental evaluation," LaRock said.

The man was transported via ambulance and put on a 72-hour psychiatric hold. Fire personnel were stationed nearby throughout the incident.

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Though cars on northbound Highway 101 were trapped in a standstill for the first hour, drivers were allowed to slip by the incident along the Old Middlefield Way offramp, which has one lane that reconnects with the highway on the other side of the intersection. But it still created a bottleneck, with six lanes of traffic narrowed down to one, LaRock said, causing backups that continued through 10 p.m. that evening.

Traffic was largely managed by the CHP and Caltrans, with early help from the Mountain View Police Department.

When asked about the significant length of time, LaRock said every situation is different. In this case, options like incapacitating the man would have risked having him fall. It was also unreasonable to try and create a safe landing zone. Instead, LaRock said crisis negotiators used time and patience.

"The CHP will always use time to our advantage. There is no need to rush in when one decision could lead to a negative result," LaRock said. "Time doesn't hurt anybody, and words -- talking and trying to find resolution -- worked in our favor."

LaRock said he understands drivers in the moment may have been frustrated by the delays, but he believes anyone would want the CHP to do the same for their own loved ones.

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"Every person matters, and everyone deserves the same amount of respect and patience in the matter," he said.

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CHP convince man not to jump off Highway 101 overpass, ending 14-hour traffic jam

by / Mountain View Voice

Uploaded: Wed, Mar 3, 2021, 12:28 pm

The California Highway Patrol spent close to 14 hours and 45 minutes on Tuesday negotiating with a man who threatened to jump off the Old Middlefield Way offramp over Highway 101 in Mountain View. CHP officials say they were able to convince him to come back over the railing, and took him into custody as of 10:45 p.m.

CHP received reports around 8 a.m. that a man was walking along the offramp, and officers who arrived saw him sitting on the south railing facing northbound traffic, according to officer Dave LaRock. Traffic was immediately shut down for all northbound lanes as crisis negotiators arrived to talk to the man, LaRock said.

Over the lengthy negotiations that lasted well into the night, LaRock said the CHP brought several family members of the man from Marin County to help aid them in their efforts.

"Eventually the subject voluntarily came to the other side of the railing and, without resistance, was taken away for mental evaluation," LaRock said.

The man was transported via ambulance and put on a 72-hour psychiatric hold. Fire personnel were stationed nearby throughout the incident.

Though cars on northbound Highway 101 were trapped in a standstill for the first hour, drivers were allowed to slip by the incident along the Old Middlefield Way offramp, which has one lane that reconnects with the highway on the other side of the intersection. But it still created a bottleneck, with six lanes of traffic narrowed down to one, LaRock said, causing backups that continued through 10 p.m. that evening.

Traffic was largely managed by the CHP and Caltrans, with early help from the Mountain View Police Department.

When asked about the significant length of time, LaRock said every situation is different. In this case, options like incapacitating the man would have risked having him fall. It was also unreasonable to try and create a safe landing zone. Instead, LaRock said crisis negotiators used time and patience.

"The CHP will always use time to our advantage. There is no need to rush in when one decision could lead to a negative result," LaRock said. "Time doesn't hurt anybody, and words -- talking and trying to find resolution -- worked in our favor."

LaRock said he understands drivers in the moment may have been frustrated by the delays, but he believes anyone would want the CHP to do the same for their own loved ones.

"Every person matters, and everyone deserves the same amount of respect and patience in the matter," he said.

Comments

E. Shaw
Registered user
Shoreline West
on Mar 3, 2021 at 2:26 pm
E. Shaw, Shoreline West
Registered user
on Mar 3, 2021 at 2:26 pm

[Post removed due to disrespectful comment or offensive language]


smorr
Registered user
Monta Loma
on Mar 4, 2021 at 8:37 am
smorr, Monta Loma
Registered user
on Mar 4, 2021 at 8:37 am

Thank you for the long hard work that led to these good results despite the interruptions it caused for others. I'm sure there were many frustrated and angry people who were stuck in traffic, but they were part of helping to save a life, which at the time they probably didn't know.


Bernie Brightman
Registered user
Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Mar 4, 2021 at 10:31 am
Bernie Brightman, Another Mountain View Neighborhood
Registered user
on Mar 4, 2021 at 10:31 am

What about any emergency vehicles that might have needed to use that stretch of highway at some point during those 14 hours. Anyone think about that?


William L
Registered user
Stierlin Estates
on Mar 4, 2021 at 10:45 am
William L, Stierlin Estates
Registered user
on Mar 4, 2021 at 10:45 am

I do not want anything terrible happens to the poor man. He deserves a good care. My question is why it took 14 hours to end the incident. There are many ways to remove the man from the bridge sooner safely. I disagree with "It was also unreasonable to try and create a safe landing zone.". This reflects the fact that police does not have the bigger picture of the commuters.
I want to point out that the impact to the commuters is much bigger than you think. 100s of thousands of people passing by 101 every day. Many people who has to commute during the pandemic are essential workers or low income families. Maybe a patient died because their doctor cannot arrive on time. Maybe someone died because an ambulance arrived late. Maybe a fire went out of control because fireman was not able to arrive sooner. Maybe some people lose their jobs because they were late. Maybe some people lost a sale to pay for the living of their family which struggled financially. Maybe some had to pay for the late pickup fee for picking kids up late. Maybe some people failed to catch a flight.
The impact of closing the highway for two peak hours is tremendous.


Old Steve
Registered user
Rex Manor
on Mar 4, 2021 at 4:11 pm
Old Steve, Rex Manor
Registered user
on Mar 4, 2021 at 4:11 pm

One would have to know a great deal professionally about emergency response to argue with the pro's about a landing zone. One thing we have lost a little of over the last year, is our respect for human life. Some people don't think half a million lives were important, or fifty thousand (Gov Abbott) or in this case, one. Responders always have options, so do commuters. AM Radio was all over the freeway closure, even so, Central Expressway was pretty empty all day.


Community Minded
Registered user
another community
on Mar 4, 2021 at 4:41 pm
Community Minded, another community
Registered user
on Mar 4, 2021 at 4:41 pm

Beautiful words from CHP Officer Dave LaRock: "Every person matters, and everyone deserves the same amount of respect and patience in the matter.”

Great job, CHP! Many people are going through serious difficulties now and need our help and patience.


Ken M.
Registered user
Rex Manor
on Mar 5, 2021 at 4:39 pm
Ken M. , Rex Manor
Registered user
on Mar 5, 2021 at 4:39 pm

[Post removed due to disrespectful comment or offensive language]


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