Off-duty officer's quick thinking saves Tappan Zee jumper

An off-duty Yonkers police officer who helped save a knife-wielding man threatening to jump off the Tappan Zee Bridge says he immediately sensed something was wrong.

"It was immediate, I knew it," says Detective Justin Barbato.

What he saw was a car parked on the side of the bridge and, not far from it, a man leaning over the bridge's railing. Acting on instinct, Barbato pulled over.

The man, 22-year-old Michael Ratson, of Greenwich, Conn., was threatening to jump. After Barbato radioed for backup, he says Ratson pulled out a pocket knife.

Ratson then got a call on his cell phone from his parents, but even with them on the line and the help of a nurse who pulled over to assist, Ratson wasn't budging and began to harm himself.

"When he started cutting himself, I knew he was serious," Barbato says.

That's when state police jumped in, Tasered Ratson and pulled him back over the railing. He was taken to Westchester Medical Center for a psychiatric evaluation. No charges were filed.

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