On Sunday, June 18, 2016 at approximately 2:10 am, the Carlstadt Police Department received a report of a suicidal female who had climbed over the barrier safety fence of the Route 120 North overpass (Paterson Plank Road) and was threatening to jump off. Officers James Winand and William Pangaro responded to the scene and observed the female standing behind the safety fence atop of a ledge for the overpass located on the East Rutherford side of Route 120 South near Route 17The roadway was shut down to all motor vehicle traffic with assistance from officers from East Rutherford, Rutherford and Wood-Ridge Police Departments.

Officer Pangaro was able to approach the female party as Officer Winand climbed out onto the overpass ledge and stood by. Officer Pangaro spoke with the female party in an attempt to convince her not to jump. She was grasping the overpass fence and crying and appeared to be distracted by the overhead lights of our patrol vehicles so Officer Pangaro advised all officers on scene to turn off their overhead lights to which they complied. Officer Pangaro spoke with the female party about why she wanted to hurt herself and was eventually successful with convincing her not to jump and instead walk towards Officer Winand. Once Officer Winand with assistance from Sergeant Craig Capuano of Rutherford P.D. was able to grab her and assisted her off the ledge to a safe location she was turned over to East Rutherford P.D. officers and transported to ERPD headquarters.

Subsequent investigation revealed the female party was at a nearby establishment with her boyfriend earlier in the night. She unknowingly left the establishment and walked to the overpass and climbed the fence when she was spotted by a passing motorist who called 9-1-1.

Chief Nielsen credits the patience and determination of Officers Pangaro and Winand for remaining calm in an otherwise stressful situation and showing compassion towards the female party during her difficult time and convincing her to not harm herself.