Officials ‘Relieved’ After Man Climbs Down After Nearly 7 Hours On I-244 Sign

Police and witnesses are relieved a man wasn't hurt and climbed down on his own from the I-244 highway sign Tuesday.

Tuesday, June 15th 2021, 10:13 pm


Negotiators worked with a man for hours to convince him to climb down from a sign over I-244. 

The man climbed the sign around 9 a.m. and climbed down around 4 p.m. Tuesday.

Tulsa Police said it is a relief this man was able to climb down on his own. They said he was in a mental crisis, and they are glad he wasn't hurt. 

Ricky Jewell, a witness, said he also tried to help. 

"I just feel that if I can talk to him, I can get him to come down, and I just walked closer and started talking to him," Jewell said. 

Jewell said he saw the interstate was closed but was able to drive under a bridge and saw the man on the sign. He said he prayed for what to say to the man and felt called to go talk to him. 

"I told him that this ain’t the end of the world, there's people that will help you, and I said if you come down, I'll help you," he said. 

Negotiators talked to the man from a Tulsa Fire Department basket, and at one point he asked for an officer from the Bartlesville police department.

Related Story: Man Comes Down From I-244 Sign After 7 Hours

Tulsa Police Officer Andre Baul said he talked to the man for about an hour, and these situations always take time. 

"We want to make sure we give them time, we don’t want to rush the situation, and all of our training tells us that we don't rush the situation, we don't rush up, we don’t grab them or try to pull them down," Baul said. 

Baul said negotiators have talked to the man previously in a separate incident. He said the man climbed up the sign Tuesday because he was worried about legal issues he was having. 

"He was scared about the future, about what he was going to be facing once he came down," Baul said. 

Jewell said while it was a stressful day, he's thankful the man is safe. 

"Looking at it from my perspective and his loved ones, no matter who he is or what's going on in life, there's always tomorrow, there's a brighter day ahead of us," Jewell said. 

Tulsa Police said the man was taken to get medical treatment. 

It is our policy to provide resources for anybody considering self-harm when reporting about a situation involving suicide or a suicide attempt. 

The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is a hotline for individuals in crisis or for those looking to help someone else. To speak with a certified listener, call 1-800-273-8255.

The Veterans Crisis Line and Military Crisis Line at 1-800-273-8255 (Press 1) connect veterans and service members in crisis and their families and friends with qualified, caring U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs responders through a confidential toll-free hotline, online chat, or text.

Crisis Text Line is a texting service for emotional crisis support. To speak with a trained listener, text HELLO to 741741. It is free, available 24/7, and confidential.


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