An Orange County firefighter grabbed a man intent on running into freeway traffic at the northbound onramp of the I-5 Freeway at Crown Valley Parkway Saturday morning.
At about 10:30 a.m., Engine 9 from the Mission Viejo fire station near The Shops was returning from a training when the crew was flagged down by a man on Crown Valley Parkway, said Capt. Steve Concialdi of the Orange County Fire Authority. The Good Samaritan notified firefighters that a man was running in and out of traffic near Coco’s, just east of the freeway.
The fire captain encouraged the 43-year-old man to sit at the curb, “before you get hurt,” Concialdi said. But he wouldn’t.
“The fire engine blocked traffic lanes to protect the man and the crew tried to calm him down,” Concialdi said. “At this point, two [sheriff’s] units arrived on scene and tried to stop the agitated man from running through traffic, as he was yelling at passing motorists.”
The man darted for the bridge, “like he was going to jump down to the northbound lanes of the freeway."
Which he did. It was only about 10 feet high, and the man landed in ice plant, Concialdi said.
“Engine 9 was waiting,” Concialdi said. “As the man ran towards the freeway traffic lanes, the firefighter/paramedic tackled him and together they rolled approximately 50 feet down the freeway embankment and came to rest at the freeway's edge.”
Firefighters had to subdue the man to keep him from making another suicidal attempt, Concialdi said. The man admitted to being under the influence of either alcohol or drugs.
A sheriff’s deputy received minor injuries in the struggle, he added. The man was transported to Mission Hospital.