Arlington officer, truck driver team up to save suicidal boy

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Years on the road helped an Arlington police corporal save the life of a teenager with a mental illness.

Arlington PD body cam video shows a teenage boy jump off the Kelly Elliot overpass at I-20 and onto the top of a tractor-trailer Wednesday morning.

Police say the boy was threatening suicide but instead landed safely on top of the 18 wheeler, thanks to the quick thinking of an Arlington officer.

Arlington Police Cpl. Deric Sheriff was working a traffic stop nearby when he heard the call and rushed to help. As Sheriff and another officer tried to stop the traffic on I-20, he explored a possible solution.

“I was trying to find a tall enough semi-trailer that would work because there were a couple of flatbeds that would not have been of any use,” Sherriff said.

Sheriff’s body camera captured the exchange with Dwayne Crawford, the driver of an 18 wheeler.

“As soon as I went under and started under the bridge, I looked up. The young man looks down at me, and I thought, ‘Oh, man. He’s serious,’” Crawford recalled. “As soon as I got under the bridge with my tractor and got the trailer under it, I felt a thump.”

It happened quickly. As soon as the semi pulled underneath, the boy jumped.

“I feel good about it,” Crawford said. “The young man’s going to get help. The bottom line: he needed help.”

As a father of six children, Sheriff’s relief is hard to hide.

“It actually worked!” he said. “Because no sooner did this semi get stopped under the bridge, the subject jumped off the bridge and landed on top of his trailer.”

Sheriff says his idea likely came from his previous profession.

“I was actually a truck driver before this job,” he said.

After 17 years on the force, Sheriff will never forget this moment.

“That’s the whole reason 99.9% of us got in this job is to make a difference and to help,” he said.

The only reason Officer Sheriff captured the video on body camera is because he forgot to turn his camera off from the previous traffic stop.

Police say the boy was not injured and is getting mental health treatment.

If you or a loved one is feeling distressed, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. The crisis center provides free and confidential emotional support 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to civilians and veterans. Call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255. Or text to 741-741.
CLICK HERE for the warning signs and risk factors of suicide. Call 1-800-273-TALK for free and confidential emotional support.