December 30, 2015 Jacksonville, Fl. near I-95 northbound side of the Overland Bridge, just south of the Main Street Bridge where construction is taking place a turn of events occurred that could have had a horrific end if not for a construction worker and the efforts of Police Officers who saved a 4 month old baby and her suicidal mother.
The incident happened around 6:30 P.M. on December 29, 2015 when Officer Samantha Decker noticed an abandoned vehicle with a flat tire near the area of the bridge. She stopped to investigate and try to locate the operator of the vehicle.
She was flagged down by a construction worker who had noticed a woman who had been standing near the edge of a closed off portion of the bridge that was under construction with a baby carrier at her feet that had the 4 month old baby girl inside it.
The woman was just feet from the edge of the bridge. Officer Samantha Decker called for another unit to assist her and Officer Daniel Gaynor responded to the scene. Officers attempted to talk to the 24 year old woman but she was unresponsive.
Her behavior and unresponsive attitude gave grave concern to all present and the construction worker quickly acted snatching up the baby before the woman had an opportunity to jump and take the baby with her. Officer Daniel Gaynor grabbed the woman and pulled her away from the edge of the bridge as well to safety.
Investigators who spoke with the woman said that she had admitted to drinking alcohol and using drugs earlier in teh day and then driving around with the baby in the vehicle before it got a flat tire. The woman was arraigned on a mental health law where Judge John Moran set her bond at $25,000 and she was held for mental health evaluations and treatment in the Jacksonville County Sheriff’s Office.
“The jail has a mental health program within it, so when you are arrested and Baker Acted, you will be treated for that as well,” JSO Public Information Officer Melissa Bujeda told News4Jax. She added “We couldn’t of asked for a better outcome, because the last thing we would want to be working would be a fatality, or possible fatality with a child.”
The child has been placed in the custody of her father as Department of Children and Families has been called to investigate the incident.
Photo’s Credit: News4Jax
The Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office Wrote on their facebook page of the incident the following:
On Tuesday, December 29, 2015 around 6:30 p.m. police were dispatched to I-95 North just before the Main Street Bridge exit reference a disabled vehicle.
Officer Samantha Decker arrived on scene and started the process of calling a tow truck. A construction worker flagged down Officer Decker reference a female about 200 yards north on the other side of the highway guardrail with a 50 foot drop below holding a small infant. He stated it appeared the woman was trying to harm herself or the baby.
Officer Decker requested more units to help assist in locating the woman. Officer Daniel Gaynor arrived on scene and located the woman and could observe her on the other side of the concrete barricade. The woman was on a small concrete slab about three feet wide. The woman would not communicate with or acknowledge Officer Gaynor. At that time, Officer Gaynor made the decision to go over and grab the woman from behind and pull her back over the guardrail before she jumped.
Prior to police locating the woman, construction workers in the area tried to pull the woman over the guardrail. During that attempt the construction workers were able to grab the four month old infant from the woman to bring the infant to safety.
The woman was extremely intoxicated and unsteady on her feet and admitted to drug use. The woman admitted to buying a bottle of liquor after a doctor’s appointment for the infant, consumed the liquor, and drove around with the infant in the vehicle. The woman was charged with Child Neglect and Baker Acted.
Great job Officer Decker and Gaynor and all of the construction workers involved who helped save a four month old infant and woman. Your efforts saved two people from a very tragic situation.