Suicide attempt on Grass Valley overpass thwarted by Good Samaritans |

Suicide attempt on Grass Valley overpass thwarted by Good Samaritans

Joshua Smith was on his way to school — for the second time — after having to turn around and retrieve his textbooks, which he had forgotten at his Penn Valley home.

As he drove across the overpass on Highway 20 leading into Grass Valley a little before 9 a.m., he spotted a man standing on the sidewalk, looking down at the highway.

“I looked in my rearview (mirror) and I saw him climbing over the rail,” Smith said.

The 18 year old quickly pulled over, followed by Kindra Twitchell.

“I was like, this cannot be happening right now,” Twitchell said. “He was literally ready to jump.”

“He already had one leg over,” Smith said. “As I approached him, he put his other foot over.”

The two ran across the road and started talking to the distraught man, who was yelling and crying, Twitchell said.

“He was obviously hurting,” Smith said.

Smith held onto the man to keep him from going over the railing, with the help of another male passerby, and got the man back onto the street. The good Samaritans walked the man back to Smith’s truck, where he sat until law enforcement arrived.

The man was transported to Sierra Nevada Memorial Hospital, where he was placed on a mental health hold, said Grass Valley Police Officer Zack LaFerriere.

“He’s in very good hands now,” LaFerriere said, calling the trio who stopped “total heroes.”

Smith said he wasn’t comfortable with being called a hero, saying that stopping to help was something any decent human being would do.

“I don’t want to be that guy who would just drive by,” he added. “I just saw someone who needed help.”

Contact reporter Liz Kellar at 530-477-4236 or by email at

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