Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Pitt Police Officer Recognized for Rescue on Hulton Bridge It Occurred Week before Clemente Bridge Rescue

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Pitt Police Officer Recognized for Rescue on Hulton Bridge It Occurred Week before Clemente Bridge Rescue

Article excerpt

The week before a Major League Baseball umpire received considerable praise for coaxing a woman off the edge of the Roberto Clemente Bridge, a University of Pittsburgh police officer made a similar, quick-thinking rescue near Oakmont.

Around 8:15 p.m. June 21, Officer Mario Devine, 26, of Plum was off-duty, driving home after participating in a softball game, when he did a double take. Crossing the Hulton Bridge - which spans the Allegheny River between Oakmont and Harmar -- he noticed a woman walking alongside the four-lane bridge, where there is no sidewalk. As he got closer, he saw her step up to the concrete barrier toward the water, he said.

Officer Devine drove over the bridge and spotted two men in a parking lot. They told him the woman had just walked by saying she was going to commit suicide, he said. Officer Devine told them he was a police officer, asked them to call 911 and pulled up alongside the woman.

He got out of his car, went over to her and identified himself. She was in tears and difficult to understand, he said. As cars passed them on the bridge, he began to speak quietly to her.

"I was really just trying to get her calmed down. I wanted to find out what the issue was and I really wanted to help her," he said. "I wanted to let her know that no matter how bad it is, it always gets better."

A few minutes later, the woman's fiancee, also a woman, arrived on the bridge and screamed out her name, Officer Devine said. He decided it was the right time to act: he grabbed both of the woman's arms and pulled her off the ledge, then handcuffed her for safety, he said.

Less than a minute later, he said, Oakmont police arrived and took her in an ambulance. Further information on the woman's condition could not be released due to medical privacy laws, said Oakmont Police Chief Michael Ford.

As Officer Devine drove home, he thought about the woman and hoped she would find the help she needed, he said. But he did not immediately tell his family about what had happened.

A week later, when Pitt's office of the chancellor chose Officer Devine for its first Extra Mile Award to recognize his action, he finally told his family about the rescue. …

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