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Sheriff’s officers talk man out of jumping from overpass

Sun-Times file photo

Cook County sheriff’s officers talked a suicidal man out of jumping from a highway overpass Saturday night in the south suburbs.

About 10:25 p.m., someone called 911 and reported a despondent man on an overpass along northbound Route 394 between Sauk Trail and Lincoln Highway, according to a statement from the sheriff’s office.

Sheriff’s officers found the man sitting on the edge of an overpass, threatening to jump. They shut down the highway and tried to stop trains from using the tracks below, but one freight train was too close to stop.

Officer Eugene Butler, a hostage negotiator also trained in crisis intervention, began talking to the 40-year-old Park Forest man, according to police. As the freight train rolled by, Butler kept the the man’s focus on him.

After some time, Butler convinced the man not to jump, and he was taken to a hospital for evaluation.

“I couldn’t be more proud of these officers whose compassion, patience and quick thinking helped save this man’s life,” Sheriff Tom Dart said in a statement.