Manatee Co. deputies stop suspect from jumping from Sunshine Skyway Bridge

Pursuit Ends In Rescue

MANATEE COUNTY, Fla. (WWSB) - Following a police pursuit, Manatee County deputies saved a man who appeared to be ready to jump off the Sunshine Skyway Bridge following a pursuit.

According to a press released, Scott Rapson was spotted driving erratically. Deputies say Rapson then drove towards the officer conducting the stop and nearly struck him.

“That driver as I was exiting my car, attempted to run me over and reversed and again drove at my car,” said Deputy Jacob Merrill.

Rapson continued driving at a high rate of speed on the Sunshine Skyway Bridge. Officers deployed stop stick but they say that Rapson continued driving with flat tires. authorities said. Once on the bridge, officers say he neared the top of the bridge, got out of his car and climbed over the barrier where it appeared he was ready to jump.

A video released by the department shows Rapson sitting with his feet dangling over the side of the bridge. Two officers, Detective Jones and Sgt. Bowling, speak with him and a third officer, Detective Tyler Ackerman, grabbed Rapson and pulls him back over.

“As soon as the vehicle stopped and he got on the barrier it’s an entirely different situation,” said Det. Ackerman.

What was a pursuit turned into a rescue mission to make sure no one lost their life on that 430 foot bridge.

“He was saying he wasn’t going back to jail, he had done this before and wasn’t going back to jail. He was trying to call his mom to say his final good byes,” said Deputy John Jones.

Deputies say when Rapson got a call on his phone, that’s when they knew they needed to act, and act quick.

“He’s on the ledge of the barrier in my head it’s not only thinking about how close I can get to him but what happens if I don’t do it the right way? What if I don’t get my arms wrapped around him completely? You know this could fall on me, this could fall on the Sheriff’s office. So I just got as low as I could and got under his arms and tried to get my hands touch and just pulled him off the barrier,” said Det. Tyler Ackerman.

They were able to pull him off safely and then moments later arrested him.

“So I really just want acknowledge how proud I am of these deputies and everything that they went through and how they handled themselves and how they handled the entire situation,” said Sheriff Wells.

A situation that could’ve ended with a tragedy, ended with a man getting a second chance.

Rapson was booked into the Hillsborough County Jail on charges of aggravated assault on a law enforcement officer, DUI and fleeing to elude.

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