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UHP Trooper Honored After Saving Woman’s Life

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – A Utah Highway Patrol trooper was recognized on Capitol Hill just one day after he helped save a woman who was dangling over highway traffic.

“It was extremely close,” said trooper Jim Miller, a 21-year veteran of UHP. “You have to act quick.”

In a moment of need, perhaps no one is more familiar with responding to a call for help than those who wear the badge.

“Well I don’t consider myself a hero,” Miller said. “I’m just grateful I was able to help.”

The unexpected call came Wednesday as Miller was on his way home from working at the Utah State Capitol. The bridge on 600 North in Salt Lake was busy, but Miller noticed a woman walking toward the fence that looks over Interstate 15.

He continued over the bridge until a fellow driver directed his attention back to the woman who was now on the fence.

Miller pulled over and said, “right when I got out of my vehicle I heard a citizen just yelling for help.” A man was struggling to keep a firm hold on the woman, who was now on the other side of the fence, dangling over I-15 traffic.

“She was literally hanging off the top of the bridge,” he said.

Miller ran and grabbed the woman’s other arm and for several minutes the two desperately held onto her. Miller’s yells eventually caught the attention of another nearby trooper who climbed over the fence and the three of them pulled her to safety.

“She obviously was in tears and said she just wanted to go,” Miller said. And as someone who used to investigate suicides on the highway, he knows the devastating impact they have on so many. And this was a difficult scene to witness.

“It’s an extremely intense and fast-moving traumatic experience and it shakes you up,” he said. “You want to put your arm around people and give them a hug and say, ‘hey you know there’s hope. There’s a way to get through this.’”

Fortunately, there were many who answered the call that day. The unknown hero who initially grabbed the woman’s arm. The driver who pulled off the highway below and stood on the median to warn oncoming drivers of the woman who was dangling overhead. And the troopers who were recognized on Capitol Hill for responding to the call when it mattered most.

“This was just a fraction of the time and it could have been totally different,” Miller said. “Thank heavens that it all worked out good.”

When asked what he hoped others would take away from his story he said, “The thing that I would hope is that more people become aware of the signs that are given there. The red flags when people are in distress and see if you can take the initiative to jump in and help.”

If you or someone you know is experiencing suicidal thoughts or exhibiting warning signs, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-TALK (8255).

Additional Crisis Hotlines

  • Utah County Crisis Line: 801-226-4433
  • Salt Lake County/UNI Crisis Line: 801-587-3000
  • Wasatch Mental Health Crisis Line: 801-373-7393
  • National Suicide Prevention Crisis Text Line: Text “HOME” to 741-741
  • Trevor Project Hotline for LGBTQ teens: 1-866-488-7386
  • University Of Utah Crisis Interventional Crisis Line: 801-587-300

Online resources

In an emergency

  • Call the police
  • Go to the emergency room