ANNAPOLIS, MD – A police officer in Maryland is being hailed as a hero for his efforts to save two people who were attempting to commit suicide.
The two people whom he saved are doing well and have received the mental wellness services they needed.
Maryland police officer saves two people showing suicidal signs in two months https://t.co/ZUMU9oeQWY
— FOX 5 DC (@fox5dc) January 14, 2022
Maryland Natural Resources Police Officer First Class Jacob Gerczak was in the area of the Bohemia River at the end of October when he noticed a woman who had jumped off of a fishing pier into the cold waters of the river.
Gerczak jumped into action, trying to get her attention and get her out of harm’s way.
“I yelled at her, tried to get her attention, wasn’t getting anywhere with her and I ended up watching her exhale water. Physically exhale water. At that point, I knew I had to get in the water.”
Despite the frigid temperatures and threat to his safety, Gerczak took off his police equipment and decided the only way to save the woman would be to jump in the water.
“I stripped out of my vest, my duty belt, I left my uniform boots on. I jumped in, I saw out to her. I hooked her with my left arm and used my right arm to swim us back to the dock…I knew I had to get in the water to save her because if I did nothing she would’ve ultimately most likely drowned.”
Gerczak was able to keep hold of the unidentified woman until further assistance arrived on the scene. Gerczak was able to get medical and mental services to the woman who is reportedly doing well after this incident.
On another chilly night, this time in December, Gerczak was on patrol around 6:30 pm when he started to cross the Chesapeake City Bridge. As he neared the bridge, he noticed a woman that was leaning over which made him think something was amiss. Gerczak said:
“When I saw her leaning over the bridge, I thought something’s going on. I had a gut feeling something was going on.”
As the officer neared the woman, he saw her crying and feared that she may be contemplating suicide. Gerczak was able to engage her in conversation and learned that she was in fact contemplating jumping over the bridge and into the water.
Thankfully, Gerczak was able to talk her away from the bridge and receive services. He said:
“I could see she had been crying, very distraught. After talking to her for about five minutes I managed to get her away from the railing of the bridge, get her away from there, and walk her back to my patrol vehicle.”
After he was able to get her away from the bridge, Gerczak said the woman opened up to him and said that she would have jumped had it not been for him being there. He said:
“After talking to her, she leaned in, she gave me a hug, and she thanked me for being there because if I hadn’t been there she had every intention of jumping from the bridge.”
Gerczak’s actions were noticed all the way up to the Governor’s Office who awarded him with the governor’s citation.
Regardless of the notoriety, he is receiving, Gerczak says he is just happy that he was in the right place at the right time and able to save the two women from killing themselves. He said:
“I’m just very grateful and very humble that being put in those positions, to act efficiently and effectively to make a positive impact to prevent them from doing something that would be absolutely devastating to them and their family.”
A pilot of a Cessna 172 had taken off shortly before the crash from the Whiteman Airport when the plane started having unknown malfunctions. The pilot was unable to keep the plane in the air and was forced to crash land.
The pilot was able to avoid hitting anyone on the streets but did crash into several railway crossing guards before the plane stopped on the railroad tracks at Osborne Street and San Fernando Road.
Witnesses called 911 to report that the downed plane was partially on the railway tracks.
Officers with the Los Angeles Police Department received the call just after 2 pm and responded to the scene.
Officers requested their dispatch notify any incoming trains of the situation and to stop all traffic until the pilot could be evacuated and the wreckage removed.
Unfortunately, the word did not make it to the train driver who was barreling towards the downed plane with the pilot still on board. Officers realized there was a speeding train headed in their direction and began frantically trying to remove the pilot before the train killed him.
Ignoring their own safety, officers refused to leave the man and continued to work to get him free. The heroic actions of the officers, captured on video, paid off as they were able to free him seconds before the speeding train destroyed the plane.
The pilot was turned over to paramedics at the scene and transported to a nearby hospital for treatment. He is expected to recover from what police are reporting as minor injuries sustained during the crash landing.
The Los Angeles Police Department tweeted about the heroism the officers showed in the face of impending death. The tweet said:
“Foothill Division Officers displayed heroism and quick action by saving the life of a pilot who made an emergency landing on the railroad tracks at San Fernando Rd. and Osborne ST., just before an oncoming train collided with the aircraft.”
Luis Jimenez, a music composer who was in the area at the time of the crash was able to capture the officer’s heroic actions on video. Jimenez said:
“The plane had a failed take-off and landed on the train tracks at a popular intersection. Just seconds before impact, police officers saved the pilot, and a piece of debris almost hit me.”
The crash investigation has been turned over to the National Transportation Safety Board who will determine the cause of the crash.
Additionally, they will also be trying to determine why the engineer of the Metrolink 266 was not notified of the impending danger.
Nikolas Lucky of OC Hawk News happened to be nearby after the crash and alleges he was able to speak to the engineer who was not identified. The engineer told Lucky that he never received a warning from his dispatch of the plane crash.
The engineer allegedly told Lucky that the train was traveling at 80 miles per hour at the time of impact. He was thankful that the officers were able to get the pilot out before his train struck the plane.
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