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Suicidal man prompts extended closure of I-40

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Albuquerque police spent an “unprecedented” 11-plus hours Sunday negotiating with a man as he threatened to jump from the Louisiana overpass, prompting the closure of Interstate 40.

That section of the bridge is lined with chain-link fence, and before nightfall, the man could be seen at times clinging to the fence, his feet balanced on a small ledge as he spoke with a group of police officers standing on the opposite side.

Officer Simon Drobik, a spokesman for the Albuquerque Police Department, said that crisis intervention officers would stay on scene “for as long as it takes to have him come down safely.”

But, he said, officers’ negotiation efforts were hindered by motorists shouting “jump” and “kill yourself” as they drove by.

“Any ground that we can take, it just gets taken back immediately when somebody does that,” Drobik said. “It’s very disheartening.”

Police shut down the interstate at Carlisle around noon Sunday, and the interstate remained closed late into the night. More than three hours into the situation, police also closed Louisiana in both directions on the overpass because of comments from motorists.

Drobik said an attempt to bring the man down using a fire truck cherry picker was unsuccessful.

Police responded to at least one minor crash in the backed-up traffic on I-40.

It is routine for police to shut down roadways for such negotiations, but Drobik said Sunday’s crisis lasted an unusually long time.

By 11 p.m., officers were still working to get the man down from the ledge.

Meanwhile, westbound I-40 was closed at Eubank around 9 p.m. after a fatal rollover crash, Drobik said. The crash appeared unrelated to the situation on Louisiana.

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