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Dashcam captures deputy saving student from taking his own life

(WKRN) — A Tennessee sheriff’s deputy is being hailed a hero after he helped stop a despondent teenager from taking his own life.  

The intense situation was captured on the deputy’s dashcam video on Dec. 2 and shows Deputy Jim Zahn approaching the middle of the Natchez Trace bridge where he finds the 19-year-old.   

Zahn can be heard cautiously speaking to the teen, who is standing on the bridge’s ledge outside the railing.  

“What’s up, man? What’s going on?” the deputy is heard asking. “Don’t hate me for stopping.” 

The teen, a student at Middle Tennessee State University, replies, warning the deputy to stay back.  

“I’m good man. I’m Jim,” the deputy said. “I’m here to help you, brother. I don’t want you to do that.”  

When asked if he has a family, the teen says yes.  

“You got brothers, sisters, mom and dad,” Zahn said. “It [isn’t] worth it, man.” 

At some point during the encounter, the young man stumbles, and Zahn quickly pulls him back onto the roadway.  

“As the deputy was talking to him, he tried to make a side step while on the edge to get away from the deputy, and that’s when he lost his balance,” said Lt. Miles Collett with the Williamson County Sheriff’s Office.  

While waiting for an ambulance to arrive, Zahn learned the college student threw his backpack off the bridge with his ID and a suicide note.  

By the time a second deputy arrived at the scene, the teen indicated a poor algebra exam, among other things, had been weighing on his mind. 

“I can’t pass basic algebra,” the teen told Zahn.  

“Did you fail it?” the deputy asks.  

“That’d be me, yes,” he responded.  

“[It isn’t] worth hurting yourself,” Zahn said. “You can pass it. Take it again.” 

The teenager was ultimately taken to Williamson County Medical Center for a mental evaluation.  

The Natchez Trace bridge has two signs posted on each with information on where to find help if suicidal or in need of help.  

Help is available 24/7 through the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.