Airmen hailed heroes after saving woman from jumping off overpass

MIDWEST CITY — Two U.S. Air Force airmen convinced a woman not to jump from an interstate bridge, the Midwest City police chief said.

Midwest City police responded to a report that a woman had walked to the edge of the bridge at Interstate 40 and Air Depot Road about 1 p.m. Wednesday, Police Chief Brandon Clabes said.

The Oklahoma Highway Patrol had reported the woman was on the bridge and appeared to be preparing to jump. When Midwest City police Sgt. Ron Weatherly arrived, he learned that two airmen had stopped to help, Clabes said.

Tinker Air Force Base airmen Justin Phelps, 37, of Oklahoma City, and Camden Rogers, 25, of Midwest City, said they saw the 31-year-old woman sitting on the edge of the bridge.

She said she was distraught over family issues and told them she just wanted to die, Clabes said.

Phelps and Rogers talked her off the edge of the bridge while avoiding dangerous oncoming traffic, Clabes said.

“Once the woman was out of harm’s way, they escorted her off the bridge and to the side of the road until we could arrive. Sgt. Weatherly, a trained crisis intervention officer, took the woman into protective custody based on her statements and she is now receiving the mental help needed to assist in her recovery,” Clabes said.

In a letter to Tinker Air Force Base Commander Col. Kenyon Bell, Clabes wrote:

“It is obvious that airman Justin Phelps and airman Camden Rogers risked their personal safety to save the life of a fellow human being. This courageous action speaks volumes for both men and also reflects highly on the U.S. Air Force. This mental health crisis had the strong potential of a violent and tragic outcome but was diverted through unselfish actions.

“In summary, they saved one of the most precious things our world has to offer: a life,” Clabes wrote.

If you’re thinking about suicide, are worried about a friend or loved one, or would like emotional support, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline network is available 24/7 across the United States. The number is 800-273-8255. The free and confidential Lifeline is available for everyone.

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