Orange County deputy talks man down from jumping off I-4 overpass

'My goal was just to keep him from going over,' deputy says

ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. – Orange County Sheriff's Office Sgt. Jamie Hoffman is being applauded for his actions, after he successfully helped coax a man leaning on the ledge of the I-4 overpass at the intersection of Rio Grande Avenue and 33rd Street Sunday afternoon.

"I went up onto I-4 and at that point we realized he already had one leg over," Hoffman said.  

Hoffman got word of the situation after one of his co-workers was driving by and noticed a man leaning over the edge. Hoffman does not specialize with the Orange County Sheriff Office's crisis intervention team, instead specializing in patrols and the investigative unit. But on Sunday, Hoffman found himself alone, using his 18 years of law enforcement experience, to try to get the man to come off the ledge, or at least wait until a crisis specialist arrived. 

"He at that point said I'll talk to you, 'I'll let you get closer if they back up,'" Hoffman said. "At that point, I had deputies behind him back up, and the deputies behind me back up and I was able to get closer." 

Over the course of the next half hour, Hoffman says he was doing whatever he could to keep the conversation going with the man he later learned was going through all sorts of medical issues. 

 "You know establish a rapport with people while they are victims or suspects, speaking with somebody, trying to find something you can get on the same level about," Hoffman said.

And in the end, that man did come off the ledge and was taken to a nearby hospital. For Hoffman, it was not the Father's Day he expected, but the whole ordeal did make the gifts he got from his children after work that much more special.

"Just meant that much more when I got those ribbons and medals saying 'superhero dad,'" he said. 

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