When Jennifer Causey headed to her accounting job on Interstate 90 on Aug. 23, she was unaware of the critical situation she would encounter. At the city council meeting on Monday, Des Plaines Police Chief William Kushner said Causey, while exiting I-90 at Elmhurst Road, saw a woman standing on the overpass bridge.
“The female had one end of a rope tied around her neck and was in the process of tying the other end to the guardrail in an apparent attempt to jump off the bridge and commit suicide,” Kushner said.
Causey stopped her car, got out and spoke with the woman to try and talk her out of carrying out her intentions, Kushner said.
“[Causey] engaged the woman in conversation, and, after a short time, was successful in convincing her to untie the rope and walk off the overpass onto safer ground,” Kushner said.
She then called 9-1-1 and waited with the woman until emergency personnel arrived, Kushner said.
In an interview with Patch, Causey said her experience as a certified nurse assistant, in elementary education, and in dealing with loved ones who were depressed helped her know how to handle the situation. The experience has affected her day-to-day commute, she said.
“I have to drive by that spot every day on my way to work, so it’s very surreal still seeing that,” Causey said. “I’m just glad I was there and that I saw her and was able to help her.”
“Jennifer’s unselfish and heroic action saved the woman’s life, prevented a possible tragedy on Interstate 90 from occurring had the woman actually jumped,” Kushner said. “Her involvement went above and beyond that of a concerned citizen, and demonstrated a level of compassion and kindness to which all others should aspire.”
Kushner said it was later determined that the woman on the overpass had a history of mental illness and had stopped in despair on her way to a mental health center on that Thursday in August.
Causey was recognized with the Citizen’s Service Medal, which is given to citizens who, though prompt and alert action, help save a life, according to city documents.
This was not the first time a suicide attempt occurred on the Elmhurst Road overpass on I-90. In February a Maine West student ended his life at the same location.