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Distraught woman threatens to jump

Published Oct. 8, 2005

A St. Petersburg woman who was threatening to jump Friday morning from the pedestrian overpass onto Interstate 175 is helped down by St. Petersburg firefighter Mitch Paul. Michele Hartman, 25, climbed atop the enclosed crosswalk about 7:30 a.m., forcing St. Petersburg police to close the freeway for more than an hour. Police Officer Evan McKenna was able to calm the woman and determine she was upset because she and a boyfriend had broken up. McKenna talked to the woman until police could locate the boyfriend and bring him to the overpass. At times, Hartman would ease to the edge of the overpass and ease back while McKenna and Sgt. Jim Books talked to her. She finally agreed to come down when the ex-boyfriend arrived, and firefighters used bolt cutters to snip open the cage so she would not be forced to climb down. After spending a few minutes with her ex-boyfriend, Hartman was hospitalized for psychiatric evaluation, police said.