On 1/29/18 at about 6:06 pm, the Azusa Police Department began receiving reports of a female who was preparing to jump from the Cerritos Avenue overpass of the I-210 Freeway. Officers responded to the overpass and found a 16 year-old female hanging onto the outside of the overpass' chain-link, safety fence. A good Samaritan, Joseph Beltran, climbed up and over the fence, and held the female's upper body, in an attempt to keep her from jumping or falling to the crowded freeway below.
Working together with the Beltran, officers temporarily handcuffed the distraught teen's wrists to the fence, which prevented her from falling. With other officers holding onto her clothing, firefighters from the Los Angeles County Fire Department arrived and began coordinating a rescue. Fire personnel utilized a ladder, with a firefighter tethered by a safety harness, to gain full control over the teen. They were then able to cut a large hole in the chain link fence and move her to the safety of the sidewalk.
Azusa officers, assisted by officers from the California Highway Patrol, initially closed all lanes of the freeway, but later reduced the closure to only the eastbound lanes of traffic. The rescue efforts took approximately 30 minutes, after which all lanes of the freeway and Cerritos Avenue were re-opened.
The victim was transported to a local hospital for treatment. Some of the officers received puncture wounds and lacerations from the fence while rescuing the teen. They were treated at a local hospital and released.
Interview with Joseph Beltran
- Sgt. Jorge Sandoval