In July 2004, in the throes of postpartum depression, Tina Zahn sped to the top of Leo Frigo Memorial Bridge in Green Bay, Wis.
She got out of her car, walked to the edge of the bridge and jumped.
In a miracle of timing and sheer will, state trooper Les Boldt grabbed Zahn's wrist before she plunged into the water, pulling her back to earth and saving her life.
"Why I Jumped" is the story of what led Zahn to the bridge on that summer day and what happened after her suicide attempt. Compelling and full of suspense, "Why I Jumped" is a riveting true story of depression, redemption and hope.
July 19, 2004 Green Bay, Wisconsin
"Nine-one-one. What is your emergency?"
Tucking the cell phone under his chin, Daniel Zahn whipped the steering wheel to the left, making a sharp turn, cutting off the highway and across the median. His Durango bounced, skidding across the grass as he accelerated.
"My wife. She's going to jump!"
"I'm sorry, sir. Your wife is going to jump what?"
"The Tower Drive Bridge. She's going to jump off the bridge!"
His tires caught pavement, the car fishtailing a bit before lurching forward, nearly knocking his cell phone off his shoulder. He grabbed it. "You have to stop her!"
"Can you tell me where you are, sir?"
Frustration and rising panic surged through Daniel as he watched his wife's car up ahead of him weave through the traffic and disappear.
"On 29 . . . a couple miles east of Packerland. She's heading for 41."
"And where are you, sir?"
"Westbound on . . ."
No, that wasn't right. He'd made a U-turn after spotting Tina's car and was now racing to catch up with her.
"Eastbound on 29. I'm in a Durango. She's driving a white Oldsmobile Aurora."
"Can you see her?"
"No . . . Yes! She's getting in the left-turn lane at Packerland. I think she may be heading home."
Relief rushed over him, nearly snatching his breath away, but it was short-lived. He watched in disbelief as Tina whipped her car around waiting traffic and shot through the intersection.
"No! She didn't turn! She didn't turn! She's going for the bridge!"
Parked in a vacant grocery store lot, Sergeant Bill Morgan kept half an ear on the radio as he filled out paperwork. Suddenly he heard dispatch call him.
"Headquarters, four-Ida, Lincoln one-ninety-two."
Grabbing the mic, he checked in. "Four-Ida."
Immediately he heard Deputy Bill Roche check in as well.
"10-4, Ida. We have a 98 Olds Aurora, white. There is a suicidal female in the vehicle going ninety miles per hour at this time on 29 eastbound. Severely depressed. Subject's husband is on the line. She's coming up on Packerland."
Thirty-odd years of training kicked in as Sergeant Morgan turned his car onto Highway 29, coaching his deputies into their places like football players, well-trained team members knowing their part of the drill and carrying it out like the pros they were. He'd known of others who had jumped from that bridge and didn't survive. There was no way he was going to let the Fox River claim another victim if he could help it.
Just as he pulled his squad car up on the ramp to 41 to watch for the white Oldsmobile, an unmarked state trooper's car went screaming past, lights flashing and sirens blaring. He grabbed his mic as his foot hit the accelerator.
"I think her car just went by. Is someone behind her in an unmarked squad car?"