Grosse Pointe Farms officer saves suicidal man

By: K. Michelle Moran | Grosse Pointe Times | Published July 8, 2019

 Dionne

Dionne

FARMS — A Grosse Pointe Farms Public Safety officer is being credited with preventing a man from taking his own life.

According to a police report, officer Thomas Dionne had seen the man, a 24-year-old from Sterling Heights, parked in the driveway at Pier Park, at 350 Lake Shore Road, in the early morning hours of July 7. Dionne stopped to ask if the man was OK, and he said he was. Dionne then asked the man if he could move his vehicle out of the driveway, and he complied. 

But roughly 30 minutes later, around 1:58 a.m. July 7, Dionne saw the same man drive over the curb toward the seawall and Lake St. Clair. Dionne activated his emergency lights and loudly called out for the driver to stop, and he also called for backup units, who arrived moments later.

Police approached the vehicle, which continued to periodically edge closer to the water. Dionne said the driver didn’t respond to officer commands and refused to unlock his door or put the vehicle in park, so Dionne had to use his baton to break the driver’s side window, open the door and remove the driver from the vehicle, as well as put the vehicle in park. 

The driver, who was handcuffed initially, reportedly had some glass on his face from the broken window and was treated by medics. He was then taken to Ascension St. John Hospital for treatment and observation. Dionne completed required paperwork for the man’s committal.

At the hospital, the man told police that he was depressed because of recent stressors in his life. Police said the man’s sister told them that her brother had made statements on social media about wanting to end his life.

“There’s no doubt about it, (Dionne’s) diligence about returning to a scene a half-hour later most likely prevented an escalating incident,” Public Safety Director Daniel Jensen said. “It appeared it was an attempted suicide.”

Jensen said Dionne’s actions would be presented to the Merit Board in January 2020 for consideration for a merit award.

“It was definitely great police work,” Jensen said. “He did a great job. He’s a great officer.”

If you or someone you know is considering suicide, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline toll-free at (800) 273-TALK (8255). Support is available around the clock.