On January 11, Peoria County Sheriff Deputies Andrew Englebrecht and Andrew Medina were eating lunch together, as they usually do. Both deputies work the 7-2:30 shift. About halfway into their meal, a call came in of a man climbing over the railing on the Farmington Road 474 overpass.
At first, the two deputies thought it was just a spooked caller and that they would be back to finish their lunch in a few minutes. No one was on the Farmington bridge. Things changed when they pulled up on Closen road.
"I have seen people on the bridge but I've never, had it to that level, yeah," said Englebrecht.
The deputies saw a man climb over the railing, his back facing 474 as cars and trucks drove by.
"We try to keep it about him, try to figure out his name, not necessarily why he's up there, anything about himself to make him personalize he's important," said Medina.
So that is what they did, Medina and Englebrecht just talked with the man. Eventually the two deputies made eye contact. Englebrecht asked him his name while Medina inched closer. When he saw an opportunity, Medina wrapped his arms around the man, pulling him off the ledge and safely to the ground.
Brian Fengel, director of the Central Illinois Police Training Center says officers have to make split second decisions, and that situations like this are not common but do happen.
"The officers did an outstanding job, they were communicating with the gentleman, they were talking to him, putting him at ease," said Fengel.
The deputies said situations like this can affect even their mental health, but one thing that helped them through this was talking about it.
"After the fact, you gotta talk about it, I called him last night and I'm like I can't believe that really happened. and how it played out," said Medina.
The man was taken to an area hospital and was later released.
If you are struggling or know someone who is struggling with mental health, you can use these local resources.
Peoria County Emergency Response: 309-671-8084
Tazewell and Woodford County Crisis and Referrals: 309-347-1148
National Suicide Prevention Line: 9-8-8