In this job one never knows what we may have to confront at any given time. Yesterday was a case in point. At about 9:50 am we received a report of a woman standing in the travel lanes of I-75 southbound near Great Lakes Crossings Outlets. I was listening to the dispatch myself in my office. Officer Bryan Chubb, the responding officer was on the way – he clearly knew it was likely to be a person trying to harm themselves. Knowing this was a critical response he asked for more information to try to pin down the exact location. I could hear his siren in the background and I knew by the tone of his voice that he was intensely focused on getting there quickly. Because officers work on and around the freeway daily they understand how dangerous it is to be a person on foot on or near the roadway. He was advised that Great Lakes Crossings security was reporting that the woman was walking in and out of traffic and they were trying to talk with her. The next report was that they were fighting with her in the ditch. When Officer Chubb arrived he told me he could see her struggling with them. Witnesses reported that she was screaming that she wanted to go back into traffic and die.
These types of situations are heart-rending and difficult. We know that people engaged in this type of behavior feel desperate at that moment because of whatever may be going on in their life. We also know that later, after appropriate treatment, they look back on that day and realize that their life has value and that it is possible to move on to happier days in the future.
By their actions yesterday, Great Lakes Crossings Assistant Security Director Howard Piotrovsky and Security Officer Mike Smith gave this woman the chance to find that better future when they risked their own lives by going out on the freeway in moving traffic. At that moment it was not what she thought she wanted, but they persisted because they are decent, caring human beings trying to help.
I ran into Bryan at the end of his shift yesterday. He wanted me to understand how strongly he believed that Howard and Mike saved this woman’s life—he is convinced that without them, she would not have survived.
The security crew at Great Lakes Crossings are great partners. We work together daily and together we provide a safe environment for visitors at the mall. We all know each other and we have a deep respect for what Howard and Mike did yesterday. We will be presenting Assistant Security Director Howard Piotrovsky and Security Officer Mike Smith with a Lifesaving Award at our upcoming awards event.
I called Howard myself to thank him and let him know that I understood the risk he and Mike took and that he gave the woman another chance at life. Being a humble guy, he just said thanks.