Police save suicidal woman after 4-hour phone call

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FAIRVIEW PARK, Ohio — It took more than four hours of phone calls for law enforcement to save a suicidal woman this week.

WEWS reported that it began with a call to the non-emergency line at the Fairview Park Police Department.

A woman called and said, “I just want to tell you, I’m going to kill myself. I’ve tried so hard to get through this. I can’t.”

Fairview Park Police Lt. Mike Wickes took that first call.

“This woman, obviously very distraught, upset,” Lt. Wickes said. “Saying that she’s going to hurt herself.”

The woman wouldn’t give her full name or her location. She would hang up, then call back.

“Once I found out what type of call he was dealing with, my instincts kind of kicked in,” said Diane Williams, a records clerk at the department. But Williams has 22 years as a 911 dispatcher under her belt, so those instincts were spot-on. “I asked if he had a cell phone, I knew he was dealing with a suicidal caller.”

That’s when they decided to start pinging the woman’s phone, tracking it to the Ohio-Pennsylvania border. Turns out, the woman was driving on the turnpike the entire time, making it difficult to pinpoint her location.

It took more than four hours on the phone with the woman— speaking to Lt. Wickes, Lt. Paul Shepard, and Diane — until Ohio State Highway Patrol and Pennsylvania State troopers finally tracked her down to the Mahoning Valley travel plaza and took her to get help.

“I am very pleased with the way it turned out,” Diane said. “Any call that turns out with someone getting the help that they need is a good day.”

But if you think they got a ‘thank you’ for saving a life — think again.

Police said the woman called back the next day from the hospital, yelling at them for what they did.

“She was very mad that we tracked her down and the Highway Patrol got her the help she needed,” Lt. Wickes said. “That’s OK. She doesn’t have to thank us, she got the help she needs hopefully.”

Police said calls like this aren’t unusual, but what made this one stand out was that it was from out of state. The only link the woman had to Fairview Park was that her therapist from years ago was in the city.

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