A Santa Barbara CHP officer responding to calls of a possible jumper on Cold Spring Canyon Bridge yesterday afternoon stopped a distraught woman from leaping from the span.
According to CHP spokesperson Jeremy Wayland, the officer arrived at the bridge — the site of 55 suicides since 1963 — and noticed the woman in tears, standing on the edge of the bridge with her hands on the railing. After stopping traffic in both directions, the officer approached the woman and started talking to her.
As he attempted to calm her down, a retired LAPD officer stopped to help and walked from the opposite direction. This momentarily distracted the woman, giving the CHP officer enough time to swiftly run over and grab her from the ledge. She was detained until medical personnel responded.
For years, Caltrans has attempted to install a suicide barrier along the historic bridge. But until recently, its plans were stalled by a group of area residents who successfully argued through legal channels that Caltrans didn’t conduct a proper study on what impact such fencing would have on the look of the Santa Ynez Valley landmark.
A judge ruled in June that construction on the barrier can again move forward. The CHP and Santa Barbara Sheriff’s Department have gone on record in support of the project.