AZUSA (CBSLA) — A local man is being hailed as a hero by police and firefighters after his quick thinking helped keep a 16-year-old girl from jumping onto a freeway.
Joseph Beltran told CBS2 News he and his wife were leaving a family member’s house in Azusa Monday when they witnessed a teenage girl sitting on top of a curved safety fence on the Cerritos Avenue overpass on the 210 Freeway.
He says the girl was despondent, refusing to listen to worried family members who were talking to her from the end of the bridge.
“Man, it was really scary,” said Beltran. “I came over here,… and she was facing the freeway, crying, and she was a little hysterical.”
Beltran said he tried to buy some time by asking the girl her name and about her siblings.
When police and firefighters finally arrived, the girl got closer to the edge and began slipping.
That’s when Beltran took off his sandals, climbed to the top of the fence and reached over to grab the girl’s sweater, keeping her from falling onto the freeway.
“I was talking to her, telling her, ‘This is not the way.’… She was telling me, ‘Let me go. Let me go.'”
He didn’t let go. Instead, a police officer handed him handcuffs, which he used to fasten the girl’s arm to the fence.
Eventually, firefighters managed to get the girl to safety through a hole they cut in the fence.
“It was a group effort, and I’m glad I got help,” Beltran chuckled.
The Azusa Police Dept. applauded Beltran’s efforts, thanking him on their Facebook page.
Beltran said he doesn’t know what was going through the girl’s mind at the time, but he said he hopes she gets the help she needs.