SF Patrol Special officer honored for saving suicidal woman on Bay Bridge

Antjuan Taswell/Courtesy photo

A naked woman stood at the edge of the Bay Bridge ready to jump.

Moments earlier, she’d swerved her car back and forth across the bridge near the tunnel at Treasure Island, crashing into the guardrail twice until her car came to a rest in the far right lane, causing a vehicle pile-up.

Antjuan Taswell, a Patrol Special officer on his way to work, had to swerve his unmarked Crown Victoria patrol car to avoid the collision.

The woman emerged from her car and began to rip the clothing off her body before sprinting toward San Francisco. She then faced the Golden Gate Bridge and climbed the side rail, intending to jump.

But Taswell wasn’t about to let that happen.

Last week, Taswell was commended by the San Francisco Police Commission and Chief Greg Suhr for talking the troubled woman down from the ledge.

“That was a very trying situation and it took someone with great wit, patience and understanding to execute what you did,” Police Commissioner Julius Turman told Taswell at the hearing.

Taswell could have kept driving May 19, the day the ruckus unfolded on the Bay Bridge, but he didn’t.

Instead he pulled over and gave chase behind the woman when she bolted from her car down the far right lane.

When he neared the woman with caution, she told him repeatedly that she wanted to kill herself by jumping from the bridge. But first, she wanted to borrow his phone to tweet to her family and friends, alerting them as to what she was about to do.

“I said, ‘Yeah, you can use my phone, but let’s do it here where it’s safe,’” Taswell said, luring her 20 feet from the rail and away from traffic speeding around the accident scene.

“‘You have to come over here. I’m scared of heights,’” he told her.

When the distraught woman reached a group of bystanders near the accident, they kept her distracted until Taswell could sneak behind her and put her in what he called a control hold.

She flailed until he used his stature — Taswell is 6 foot 2 inches tall weighing around 270 pounds — to detain the small, unclothed woman by sitting on her. He put her in handcuffs until California Highway Patrol and paramedics arrived.

She was taken to St. Francis Hospital without injury.

“I feel good, I saved a life,” said Taswell, who has never saved a life before. “This is the first time something happened of this magnitude.”

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