Officer Recounts Saving Woman From Marietta Bridge

June 25, 2023 0 By JohnValbyNation

MARIETTA, GA — “We will always be stronger if we are ready to work together,” Marietta Officer Chuck McPhilamy told Patch Friday.

Though rescuing a woman from a Delk Road bridge around 3 a.m. Thursday was a combined effort between multiple city and county agencies, it was a rookie Marietta police officer who spent nearly an hour trying to talk the woman down from the bridge that suspends over Interstate 75.

Officers Austin Martin and Joseph Sivley arrived at the scene first and approached the woman who was climbing a chain link fence on the bridge. The two officers — who graduated in August 2022 — have only been with the department a short while.

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“This is a real call. She’s really about to do it,” Martin realized as he approached the woman, he recounted in an interview with Patch.

Martin told Patch he was afraid the woman would let go “in the middle of a sentence.”

Find out what's happening in Mariettawith free, real-time updates from Patch.

Sivley noticed the woman had begun to trust Martin, and so, Martin went “dark” while Sivley played quarterback to coordinate life-saving efforts. Martin removed his earpiece while Sivley coordinated with other first responders and dispatchers.

“He let me play the game while he just called the shots,” Martin said.

The woman did not want police presence on the bridge, Martin said, but officers were there because they were concerned.

“We care about everyone that we come into contact with,” Martin said.

RELATED: Marietta Officer Saves Woman’s Life On I-75 Bridge

When the woman moved to a nearby I-75 lane that had not yet been shut down, Sivley had the interstate closed in both directions. After that, the Delk Bridge was shut down.

“I talked to her like she was a person,” he said, noting he was not there with her as an officer but as a friend.

Martin tried to link his fingers with hers and failed. After that, her feet began slipping for the first time in the hour. Her head started to lull backwards, and she looked as if she might collapse.

Martin was then able to link his fingers with hers after trying again. First responders on the scene took notice and reached for her clothing.

Martin said it was a Cobb County police officer who grabbed her belt loop, the second best hold on her aside from Martin’s grip.

Finally, a Marietta firefighter and a Cobb firefighter climbed the ladder truck to bring the woman down to safety.

“When fire took her from our hands, it was pure relief and a little bit of an exhaustion,” Martin said.

Martin later visited the woman in the hospital.

On the bridge, it did not matter which fire or police department arrived first — only who arrived the quickest was priority, McPhilamy, the Marietta PIO, said.

Cobb County departments work together when needed — like in the case of the shooting suspect tracked down to Truist Park, he said.

“There is no question of who is going to do what or what is going to take place,” McPhilamy said.

Martin noted the work of dispatch, which communicated efforts between all involved police officers and firefighters.

“It was such a team effort to try to work together to help this woman in a state of crisis,” McPhilamy said. ” … That is the reality of our world in 2023. We can’t slow down and wait for resources to show up from one entity.”

He said first responders must “be ready to show up as a team regardless of what patch is on our shoulders.”

Marietta Fire’s Tim Milligan said the local fire department was part of a large team that helped someone in distress.

“We are extremely fortunate in Cobb to have the working relationship we do with other agencies beyond Marietta, ensuring the best outcome for all those in Cobb,” he said.

Patch has reached out to all other responding agencies for comment.

If you or someone you know is struggling or in crisis, contact the 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline: Call 988 or chat at

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