Harris County deputies recall rescuing man who was dangling from I-45 overpass

HOUSTON – Two Harris County deputies rescued a man Sunday who they said was trying to jump from an overpass on the I-45 North Freeway.

Harris County Sheriff Ed Gonzalez called Deputy Jesse Leal, Deputy Rebecca Cruz and good Samaritan Eustorgio Garcia-Flores heroes, and said they went above and beyond when they helped pull the man off an overpass to safety. 

Gonzalez personally thanked the trio Tuesday morning for their efforts. He called them selfless and said their quick thinking and quick actions saved a life.

The incident was reported at 11:10 a.m. Sunday when a passerby on the freeway called deputies, investigators said.

Leal and Cruz grabbed the man, talked him down and kept him from jumping, deputies said.

VIDEO: News conference with deputies, witness who helped

The 21-year-old was taken to a neuropsychiatry center at Ben Taub General Hospital.

Leal suffered a knee injury, but is OK.

Eustorgio Garcia-Flores captured the rescue on his cellphone. He told Channel 2 he was amazed by the heroism he saw on the ground and on the bridge. 

"They saw somebody needed help and wouldn't let him fall. They wouldn't," Garcia-Flores said. 

The video shows the man dangling off the edge and about 15 people below with blankets, ready to catch anyone who fell.

Leal and Cruz said they didn't really think when they arrived. They said they jumped right into action. The man was intent on killing himself and was struggling to get loose from their grip, they said. But the deputies said that was not going to happen.

"We were trying to grab onto whatever we could. We grabbed his hair, any part of his body we could grab on him to pull him up," Cruz said.

Garcia-Flores said he was amazed by the deputies' actions, and said they should be thanked more often.

VIDEO: Man dangles from freeway overpass

"There's a lot of bad stuff people post on YouTube, and I think it's time to say good things about police officers," he said.

Gonzalez said he wants anyone else who helped Sunday, even the people below with blankets, to come forward so he can honor them too.

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