Man saves life on way to movie

Published 9:17 pm Monday, October 12, 2015

Quinton Franklin, an officer at the Western Tidewater Regional Jail, was on his way to a movie last month when he saved a man from killing himself.

Quinton Franklin, an officer at the Western Tidewater Regional Jail, was on his way to a movie last month when he saved a man from killing himself.

A Suffolk man and his wife were on their way to catch a matinee when they helped save a life last month.

Quinton Franklin, who is an officer at the Western Tidewater Regional Jail, said he and his wife wanted to see “The War Room” on Sept. 25. He works an evening shift at the jail, so they had the morning off together.

Before the movie, they went to the McDonald’s near the corner of College Drive and Hampton Roads Parkway.

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The craving for breakfast — steak bagel for him; sausage, egg and cheese McGriddle for her — was the only reason they went that way, instead of approaching the Harbour View Grande theater from the other direction.

“It was a divine appointment,” Franklin said. “God had it that we would travel that way that day.”

As they drove across the overpass above Interstate 664, the couple noticed a man sitting on the bridge above the interstate, leaning against a signpost.

“I said to my wife, ‘Is he going to jump?’” Franklin recalled this week.

He honked his horn and called to the man, but the man didn’t budge. Franklin had to make a U-turn and pull up beside him to get closer to him.

When the man saw Franklin jump out of his car and approach him, he started scooting past the sign to the open area of the bridge, Franklin said. But Franklin was prepared for that.

“Before he could do anything, I grabbed him,” Franklin said. “He said, ‘Why are you helping me?’”

Franklin talked to the man while walking him off the bridge. He learned his first name, that he was 20 years old and that he “felt like the world was a terrible place,” Franklin recalled.

When Franklin called police, he learned that officers were already on their way. Two other passersby had called about the man but didn’t stop to help.

“I didn’t even think about it,” Franklin said of the fact he may have put himself in danger. “It was a knee-jerk reaction. I stopped because that’s somebody’s son, somebody’s brother. If it was my family, I would want somebody to stop to help.”

Franklin said his training from the Western Tidewater Regional Jail helped him be able to assess the situation quickly.

“It had a lot to do with our training here to be able to pick up on things that are out of the ordinary or to pick up on behavior that’s out of the ordinary,” he said.

He added that he was thinking about 27-year-old Virginia State Trooper Nathan-Michael W. Smith, who died in the line of duty earlier that week and was being buried the next day. Franklin said he went to school with Smith and had worked with him previously.

“I wasn’t ready to see somebody else that was that age die,” he said.

Franklin has been nominated for a Suffolk Police Department citizen’s award.

“Mr. Franklin’s quick thinking and selfless actions prevented the loss of life and allowed (the man) to receive the help he needed,” Officer S. Rowan wrote in the nomination.