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911 operator explains how she kept mother from jumping off I-90 bridge

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SEATTLE — Mindy Mezek has been a 911 operator for 13 years and in that time, has dealt with some pretty tough calls.  The one that came in just after 10:00 a.m. Christmas Day ranks right up there as one of the most difficult.

“First I tried to get her to take a few deep breaths because I couldn’t even understand what she was saying.  She said something about her daughter and I-90 and she was on the freeway on a bridge,” said Mezek.

The distraught mother said she was about to jump from the East Channel Bridge on I-90, connecting Mercer Island and Bellevue, all while her 7 year-old daughter was inside her parked car watching.

911 dispatcher

“I kept saying we don’t want your daughter to see you jump.  She’s not going to want her daughter to have that last image of her so I did keep saying that over and over again.  I kept saying we don’t want her to be unsafe on the street we need to know where she is,” said Mezek.

For eight whole minutes, Mindy kept her talking until Washington State Patrol Sgt. Curt Boyle got there.

“She was 20 yards ahead of me and just as she was getting up over the rail and to jump off the bridge I grabbed her by the waist and took her to the ground,” said Sgt. Boyle.

In his mental health practice, Kelly Gerling says this time of year can be a trigger for suicide.  When family life isn’t perfect, he says the holidays bring feelings of isolation.  Which is why, he says it’s important to reach out to those who may be going through a tough time.

“There is something about if we’re in pain, being listened to helps with healing.  Having other people witness our pain is part of feeling like I’m not alone in this,” said Gerling.

In those seconds that ticked by on that call, Mindy Mezek now knows she saved a life.

“I hope now maybe she can get help and see there’s more to life than whatever situation she was in,” said Mezek.

WSP says this woman told them she was the victim of domestic violence and felt she could not go on any longer.  She is being treated at a local hospital and her daughter in state protective custody.

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