Distraught man talked down from under Gold Star bridge

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Groton — Groton City police and firefighters on Tuesday successfully talked down a distraught man who spent more than an hour pacing and ranting while perched on a girder 40 feet above ground under the Gold Star Memorial Bridge.

The 44-year-old, identified only as Pete, called 911 at about 1 p.m. looking for someone to talk to, said City Police Lt. Harry Merritt.

Police found him under the bridge off Fairview Avenue, nearly the same spot as where he was found several years ago during a similar incident, police said.

City Fire Chief Nick DeLia, standing at the top of a tower ladder and joined by City Police Lt. Bruce Lowe, talked to the man for an hour.

“We talked to him, tried to see if we could find some middle ground,” DeLia said. “It got touchy there a couple of times.”

Emergency medical personnel stood by on the ground, joined by a contingent of police and the man’s girlfriend, Toni Sonner, who was brought to the scene by Norwich police.

The man stepped into the tower platform at 2:30 p.m. and shared a hug with DeLia.

DeLia credited training through his local church for his ability to talk to the man in his time of need. DeLia also said the man heard an emergency medical call over the fire department radio and decided that he did not want to tie up resources any longer.

The man was taken by ambulance to Lawrence + Memorial Hospital for evaluation.

g.smith@theday.com

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