Cottage Grove police may have prevented an 18-year-old woman from jumping off the 80th Street/Sieben Bridge this morning. The woman was transported to Regions Hospital for a mental health evaluation, officials said. 

The Minnesota Highway Patrol responded to a call at 11:35 a.m. Wednesday. The caller told them the woman was “outside the fence” on the bridge over the southbound lanes of traffic on Highway 61.

Cottage Grove police arrived on the scene and saw a woman on the other side of the wrought iron fence overlooking the highway. Director of Public Safety Pete Koerner said one of the officers began talking with the woman while keeping his distance. 

“The officer are able to calm her relatively quickly,” he said. “Their demeanor ... allowed them to de-escalate and get close enough to where they were able to grab her and slowly move her down.”

The woman cooperated, he said.

Koerner commended the officers for defusing a dangerous situation. He urged people to avail themselves of mental health services offered by Washington County.

“I feel for this woman who’s going through a crisis,” he said. “We also worry about our own responders. We have to worry about innocent bystanders and traffic. These situations put a lot of people at risk, not just the person in crisis but everyone who’s trying to help.”

St. Paul Park Police and Washington County Sheriff’s deputies helped to divert southbound traffic on Highway 61.

The Washington County Crisis Response Unit provides 24/7/365 mobile crisis mental health services for adults and children experiencing a crisis. Call 651-275-7400 for assistance.