BEVERLY — A Beverly woman was plucked from a dangerous perch Friday night, thanks to swift action by local police.

A few moments after 10 p.m. Friday, three officers received a 911 call to respond to the top of the Veterans Memorial Bridge over the Danvers River for a possible jumper.

Officers Ryan Hegarty and Justin Shairs were on patrol separately in their cruisers, as was Sgt. Antonio DiRuzza Jr. when the call came in for a distraught female at the top of the bridge separating Beverly and Salem, looking like she was ready to jump.

The Beverly officers and several Salem police arrived at the same time at the top of the bridge, which marks the line between the two cities.

The woman, who was obviously desperate and suicidal, was already on the outside of the railing, hanging onto a light pole.

The officers tried to communicate with her, to calm her and try to convince her to let them help her back over the railing, but she resisted all efforts and gave no sign of responding or of even hearing them. Instead she inched closer to the edge of the bridge, to where even a slight shift of her weight might send her plunging into the dark water below.

At this point officers Hegarty and Shairs acted together. Swiftly, and at great danger to themselves, they grabbed the woman and pulled her back over the railing.

Even then the woman, who was identified only as a 53-year-old Beverly resident, seemed deep in her own despair, remaining unwilling or unable to communicate with any of her rescuers.

Once on solid ground, she was taken by ambulance to Beverly Hospital for evaluation.

Sgt. DiRuzza has officially commended both Officer Hegarty and Officer Shairs for "their quick action to grab her and risk their safety" to save the woman's life.


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