Trooper pulls man away from Peach Orchard Road bridge

Published 12:00 am Thursday, November 3, 2011

By Nathan Hardin
SALISBURY — A man who was apparently impaired and in despair can thank a N.C. State Highway Patrol trooper for the fact that he’s alive today.
The trooper prevented the man from jumping into Interstate 85 traffic from the Peach Orchard Road bridge on Halloween.
Trooper C.F. Rogers responded to the call about a possibly impaired driver on Peach Orchard Road at about 6 p.m. Monday.
The vehicle was parked on the bridge in the middle of the road, Rogers said, and he pulled close to the front of it.
“He was outside fixing his mirror,” Rogers said. “He had a strong odor of alcohol and his speech was slurred.”
A breathalyzer test showed the man’s blood-alcohol level was above the legal limit, Rogers said. So, he took the man’s license to his vehicle for processing.
Rogers told the man to sit on the hood of his car while he ran the identification.
But as he sat there, Rogers said, the man walked toward an oncoming car, forcing the driver to stop.
The driver of the vehicle, Joy Lingle, was on her way to her parents’ house in Faith.
“I had to slam on brakes,” Lingle said. “I almost hit him myself.”
Lingle said she watched in shock as the man walked over to the bridge barrier and climbed onto the railing.
“He jumped up on top of it, facing the interstate,” she said. “Then he looked back at us. He was wobbling back and forth and he didn’t have his balance.”
Lingle said she saw the trooper run toward the man, grab his clothes and pull him onto the pavement.
“Thank goodness the trooper came running over there and grabbed the arm of his jacket and yanked him down,” Lingle said.
“He was in the forward-leaning position when I grabbed him by his clothing and pulled him back off the bridge,” Rogers said, “where he then tried to fight me.”
Rogers tussled with the man for a few minutes, pinning him in on the pavement until backup units arrived.
“We got him handcuffed and transported to the hospital,” he said. “He was admitted for a psychological evaluation.”
Lingle said after she got home, she sat down for a few minutes to think about what she saw.
“I thought I was going to witness somebody jump to their death,” Lingle said.
The trooper said the man was charged with driving while impaired, resisting, obstructing or delaying an officer, driving while license revoked and careless and reckless driving.
Afterward the man thanked the trooper for saving his life, Rogers said.
“I told him, ‘I wasn’t going to let you do that while I was sitting there,’ ” he said.