Pinellas deputy saves woman from jumping off Sunshine Skyway Bridge

PINELLAS COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) – A Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office deputy likely saved the life of a Tampa woman who was about to jump off the Sunshine Skyway Bridge, the sheriff’s office said.

According to the agency, Deputy Damon Laney was traveling across the bridge during his off-duty hours when he saw a car parked on the side of the bridge with its emergency lights on.

The deputy pulled behind the vehicle and put his hazards on, but before he could get out of the car, a 50-year-old woman exited the vehicle in front of him and ran toward the bridge’s outside barrier wall.

Forced to make a split-second decision, the deputy ended up using his vehicle to trap her legs between the push bumper and the wall. By the time the deputy exited the vehicle, the woman was able to free herself and was completely over the wall with the exception of an arm, according to the agency.

Deputy Laney grabbed her by the waist and pulled her back over the wall.

The agency said the woman continued to struggle until she was handcuffed. She allegedly cried and told the deputy “just let me jump” as she was being detained.

She later said she was upset over personal issues.

The woman was taken into protective custody under the Baker Act.

Deputy Laney has been with the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office for five years. He’s currently assigned to the Patrol Operations DUI Unit.