Police close Route 13 to get man in mental health crisis off highway to safety


Officers responding to “numerous calls of a man in the roadway on Route 13 in front of the Ithaca High School” on Friday evening discovered an individual “having a mental health crisis,” and stopped the southbound lane of travel to reduce the chance of the man being hit by a car, according to a statement Friday night from the Ithaca Police Department.

Police cars with emergency lights lit at night

IPD vehicles and other responding agencies stopped traffic on Route 13 in Ithaca on Friday evening. Photo courtesy Joan Pike.

IPD Sergeant Michael Meskill tells 14850 Today that officers attempted to de-escalate the situation, but the man began walking towards the northbound lanes of the divided highway, and officers made the decision to detain the man in the grassy median.

“After a brief struggle with Officers the male was taken into custody and transported to a local hospital for a mental health evaluation,” Sgt Meskill says.

Police say despite a few close calls, the man and the puppy he was holding during the incident were not struck by any vehicles, and were not injured. The month-old puppy was turned over to the SPCA of Tompkins County.

IPD thanked “the area law enforcement agencies that responded to assist with this incident along with IFD and Bangs Ambulance.”

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