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Archive for Sunday, December 3, 1989

WOMAN PULLED FROM BRIDGE AFTER THREATENING SUICIDE

December 3, 1989

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After spending more than an hour on the ledge outside the railing of the Kansas River bridge early Saturday afternoon, a young woman who apparently was contemplating suicide was pulled to safety by her counselor.

Lawrence Police Chief Ron Olin, who went to the scene, said the woman's counselor from Bert Nash Community Mental Health Center was called to the scene by officers.

Three police officers and the woman's counselor stood near the woman as she sat with her legs dangling over the edge of the bridge, about 40 feet above the river.

"Her counselor was able to get close enough to put his arms around her," Olin said. "He stood next to her along the extension of the railing and pulled her back."

After being pulled inside the railing, the woman was taken by ambulance to Lawrence Memorial Hospital, where doctors were to evaluate her, said Sgt. Mark Warren, who also was on the scene.

Warren said the incident began when police were called Saturday morning about 11:30 a.m. and told to watch for the woman because she had exhibited suicidal tendencies. He said an officer spotted her riding a bicycle on the north end of the bridge, but when the officer stopped to talk to her, she parked the bicycle and climbed outside the bridge railing.

During the time officers tried to coax her inside the railing, Warren said the woman sometimes stood on just one foot and leaned out over the water.

A police boat also was called to the scene, but remained outside the woman's line of vision on the other side of the bridge.

Warren said the woman was in her early 20s. He said that at one point in her conversation with officers the woman said she was 20 years old and another time that she was 22.

Officers also stopped pedestrians from using the bridge, which carries southbound traffic into downtown Lawrence. Two groups of about 10 to 20 people gathered to watch the scene on either side of the river.

The girl was pulled to safety at 12:38 p.m., 65 minutes after police received the initial call.

Police did not release the woman's name.

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