Man attempts to jump from bridge

Lauren Estes-Velez

Hartselle Enquirer

A man with active warrants attempted to jumped from Interstate-65’s 322 exit bridge on Wednesday just around 7 p.m.

Falkville police officer Aaron Burgess said he received the call from dispatch at 7:23 p.m.

“People called in saying the there was a man on the outside of the barrier on the southbound side of the bridge on exit 322 standing over southbound traffic,” Burgess said. “Our units were sent out to him. Morgan County deputy Keith Shepard arrived first and made initial contact. He said he saw a guy’s head pop up as he was driving over the bridge, so he drove down to the Marathon gas station and turned around to come back and talk to him.”

Burgess said the man, now identified as Joseph Matthew Russell, 37, was irate and the communication at the time was limited.

“He just had to keep him talking,” Burgess said. “When we ran his information, we discovered that we had some run-ins with him. He didn’t currently have a place of residency, but his last address was in Russellville and he had lived all over Morgan County.”

Burgess said his wife and kids lived in an area that they cover near Mill Creek and Russell had told them allegedly that he would cut off their heads.

“Deputy Shepard continued to talk to him, and Alabama State Troopers came and shut down the interstate for the time being,” Burgess said. “Danny Kelso arrived and he talked him off the ledge of the bridge and they were able to get him into an ambulance and transport him to Decatur-Morgan Hospital for an evaluation.”

After arriving at the hospital, they issued a warrant for his arrest because of his demeanor and disorderly conduct. Russell was able to “bust” out of the ambulance when they arrived at the hospital, but workers were able to catch him and detain him.

“As of right now he still hasn’t been officially arrested,” Burgess told the Enquirer. “I’m going to call and see what’s going on in that. He ended up having to be sedated because he continued to be irate.”

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