SAN FRANCISCO (KPIX 5) — A KPIX 5 reporter got an up-close perspective of a dangerous rescue on a busy San Francisco freeway Sunday.

KPIX 5 reporter Katie Nielsen was participating in a ride-along onboard a CHP helicopter when it landed on Highway 101 early Sunday at about 5 p.m. The flight officer ran over to help another officer who was struggling to detain a man who had been running across lanes of traffic.

The man started on the southbound side near the Cesar Chavez exit.

“When I arrived on scene, what had happened, we observed the guy had actually jumped over to the northbound side,” said CHP Officer Vu Williams . “He jumped over the concrete divide, was running in the northbound lanes, running at cars.”  

All northbound lanes were closed while the officer chased the man down. Authorities told KPIX 5 the man fought with the officer.  

At one point he tried to jump off the freeway.

“And this section of 101 is actually elevated in the air about 30 feet up in the air,” said Williams. “And then he jumped over the railing and was hanging onto the railing, threatening to drop below.”

After being called to the incident, the CHP chopper made the decision to land on the freeway to assist. That was when CHP Flight Officer and paramedic Shaun Bouyea jumped into action.

“There was an immediate threat to life. The subject was going to try to kill himself and the subject was going to try and harm the officer in the process of killing himself,” said Bouyea.

Williams said in addition to the assistance from Bouyea, Good Samaritans stopped to help him pull the man to safety.

“It was a big relief that I was finally able to get some help, said Williams. it would have only been a matter of, I would say, another 10 seconds or so before I lost my grip on him.”

The chp says it appeared the man had a thin blanket on him. It’s unknown if he was under the influence of any substance.

“You don’t expect to be landing with a helicopter in the city of San Francisco. However we were the closest backup to that officer and, without our assistance, someone could have been seriously hurt,” said Bouyea.

The CHP said the man was taken to San Francisco General Hospital to undergo a full mental health evaluation. He will be held there for the next three days.   

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