A man who threatened to jump from the Prospect Avenue bridge over Interstate 74 on Saturday in Champaign — at one point climbing over the pedestrian railing, left — was eventually convinced by police negotiators to get down and was taken on a stretcher to a waiting ambulance, right, without injury. I-74 and Prospect were both closed in both directions during the ordeal.

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CHAMPAIGN — A man in his mid- to late 20s who threatened to jump from the Prospect Avenue bridge over Interstate 74 for more than three hours Saturday surrendered to police uninjured.

“He’s got mental-health problems. He’s on his way to the hospital,” Lt. Bruce Ramseyer said at 5:30 p.m. about the man, who had been on the overpass since about 2 p.m.

His threats prompted Illinois State Police, assisted by Champaign County sheriff’s deputies, to close I-74 in both directions for about three hours.

Prospect was also closed between Bloomington Road and North Marketview Avenue from 2 to 5:30 p.m.

Ramseyer said at least six trained negotiators worked with the man to convince him to get help. After he agreed to get in an ambulance that was to take him to the hospital, officers confirmed he had no gun.

“It was a good police effort to help a man in trouble,” Ramseyer said.

The man apparently threatened to harm only himself.


Mary Schenk is a reporter covering police, courts and breaking news at The News-Gazette. Her email is mschenk@news-gazette.com, and you can follow her on Twitter (@schenk).

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