Cigarette Kept Man From Jumping Onto I-676

A man who scaled the Vine Street Expressway fence Sunday night, shutting traffic down for an hour, was talked back to safety with the promise of a cigarette, police said.

The unidentified man, who is in his 40's, had climbed over the guardrail around 6:30 p.m. and threatened to jump, said Capt. Joe Bartorilla, with the Command Inspection Bureau.

"He was distraught, " Bartorilla said, adding that he did not know why.

Officer Jeffrey Holden, a ninth-district officer who cops on the scene said has extensive crisis situation training, talked with the man for about an hour before Det. Joe Rovnan, of the Homeland Security Unit, joined the conversation, Bartorilla said.

Rovnan asked the man if he wanted a cigarette. The man said he wanted one and Rovnan told him he'd have to come back over to get it.

The man started to climb over and police pulled him over. He fell on his face, but was OK.

The man walked into the police wagon, with a slight limp, but with a cigarette in his mouth.

The man was taken to the Hall-Mercer mental health facility and no charges are being filed at this time, police said.

State Police shut down portions of the expressway around 7:05 p.m. as a safety precaution and redirected motorists to other routes.


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