By James Anderson
Last Nov. 25, Pleasantville police received multiple calls about a woman displaying apparent suicidal behavior on the bridge over the Metro-North tracks on Manville Road.
When police arrived, a civilian was already intervening, attempting to bring the woman to safety.
That Good Samaritan was 17-year-old Pleasantville High School senior Garrett Carney.
Last Monday, the Pleasantville Village Board recognized Carney and village police officers Pat Leone and Jonathan Smith for their role in thwarting the suicide attempt.
Leone and Smith were commended for their “exemplary courage, determination and commitment to the woman’s safety” while Carney received an honorary certificate for his courage and service, a just acknowledgment of the magnitude of his action, said Police Chief Erik Grutzner.
“This situation would have been tragic if not for the actions of Mr. Carney, Officer(s) Smith and Leone,” Grutzner said.
Carney said he had been driving eastward on Manville Road over the bridge at about 2:35 p.m. As he pulled up to the light, he saw a young woman straddling the south-side railing.
Carney observed people walking past her, with no apparent interest in her behavior. He then pulled over and approached the woman, who is in her early twenties. Moving cautiously, Carney said he gave her an emphatic, “Oh, hey there!” and immediately offered a friendly arm around her shoulder.
He said he positioned himself to catch her if she tried to make any rash movements. Then, Carney proceeded to engage the woman in conversation, asking her about how she was feeling, and what troubles she was experiencing.
“(I) was just there to see if she was alright,” Carney said. “I wasn’t trying to tell her to do anything, but just to try to figure out what was going on.”
He also wanted to let her know that “she wasn’t alone.”
She offered little conversation, but her answers to his questions revealed a troubled individual. In response to Carney asking her what was on her mind, he recalled her saying “I don’t want to be here, no one wants me here.”
Through his conversation, Carney said he learned that the woman was from Brooklyn. She was visiting family at Foxwood Condominiums, about a mile from the site and had been in a verbal altercation with relatives, he said.
By that time Leone and Smith arrived on the scene, finding Carney having already engaged with the woman. The officers jumped into action, pulling the woman away from the bridge’s edge.
Grutzner said upon further investigation, police found this was “not merely a cry for help; she fully intended on ending her own life, even removing her cell phone and identification from her person prior to going on the bridge.”
“Instead of going on with his day or hoping that someone else would do something, Mr. Carney took the initiative to reach out to the woman and connect with her,” Grutzner said. “This action may sound simple, but the recognition of the situation and the motivation to act reveals the best in Mr. Carney.”
According to Carney, his last interaction with the woman was a hug and her words, “Thank you. You saved a life today.”
Jade Perez contributed to this article.