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Ray’s Ray of Hope – Daniel Ricciardella of Westwood Prevents Woman from Jumping off GWB

George Washington Bridge (Spencer Platt, Getty Images)
George Washington Bridge (Spencer Platt, Getty Images)

Do you think you could just sit idly by and watch as a distraught woman gets out of her car with her dog tucked under her arm, heading to the railing of the George Washington Bridge about to do the obvious?

That was the situation that faced Westwood resident, 31 year old Daniel Ricciardella, as he watched in utter amazement and horror Friday night sitting in Jersey bound traffic.

Apparently 2 cars ahead of him was a 24 year old woman who’d gotten out of her car headed for the railing.

Ricciardella wasn’t about to let her throw her life away – so he sprung into action.

According to this account from nj.com

Daniel Ricciardella, 31, was stuck in Jersey-bound bridge traffic with his wife and children Friday night when he spotted a young woman two cars ahead exit her vehicle and climb over the north walkway, and then over the railing. A small dog was tucked under her arm.

“I started screaming, ‘No, don’t do it!” and I started running toward her as fast as I could,” he told NJ.com on Saturday. “I managed to get to her just as she was letting go of the bridge.”
The would-be jumper, identified by Port Authority Police as a 24-year-old Pequannock resident, struggled as Ricciardella grabbed her arm. Another good Samaritan wrestled the dog away during the struggle, he said.

“I wrapped my arms around the girl, picked her up and brought her over the other side. She started screaming ‘There’s no other way! There’s no other way!’ I told her there’s always another way.”

“I wasn’t thinking, I just grabbed her,” Ricciardella, a construction foreman, said. “I had my three-year-old daughter and my two-month-old in the car. I didn’t want my three-year-old to witness something like that. And I don’t think it was that girl’s time to die.”

Port Authority police arrived a few minutes later to apprehend the woman and take the dog. The distraught woman had several bags of heroin on her at the time of her detainment and was taken to a local hospital for psychiatric evaluation, Port Authority spokesman Joseph Pentangelo said.

It turned out that, minutes before that attempt, another suicide was carried out by a 29 year old man on the Ft. Lee side of the bridge.

Neither attempt, according to reports, was related – but it does make you wonder the depths of desperation so many people reach that prompts them to want to throw their lives away.

And how someone who’s merely minding his or her business can spring into action and become a hero.
Hopefully the actions of Ricciardella weren’t in vain and the 24 year old gets the help she needs.

Daniel Ricciardella – today’s Ray’s Ray of Hope.

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