Wellington actor Angelo Valderrama's actions were quite unscripted last month, when he helped a Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office detective pull a suicidal man to safety.
Valderrama, 40, who has appeared in episodes of "America's Most Wanted" and "Burn Notice" and recently finished filming scenes for "Rock of Ages" starring Tom Cruise, was driving north on Interstate 95 about 8 p.m. Aug. 19 when he noticed the blurry figure of a man leaning over the ledge of an overpass at 10th Avenue North.
"I wasn't sure what it was," said Valderrama, who was on his way to Wellington to visit friends. "But I'm pretty sure I saw somebody. I was going to a barbecue at my neighbor's house, but that stayed on my mind. I couldn't just go to a barbecue and stay with my friends. I couldn't feel comfortable about it."
Valderrama turned his car around at Forest Hill Boulevard and returned to the scene. He was met there by PBSO Detective Sergeant Roger Fraga, who had arrived a short time before.
Both men attempted to talk the man down from the ledge, but he didn't respond.
"I never had eye contact with him," Valderrama said. "Every time I talked to him, he looked through me."
Valderrama moved within about 7 feet of the man, hoping to coax him off the ledge. Instead, the man hopped the rail to the other side of the ledge, staring at the highway below.
"I thought he was trying to just jump," Valderrama said. "At that point, I looked into his face and he started looking down. He looked to the ground."
Valderrama and Fraga then lunged for the man and grabbed him by the arm and pants leg, pulling him to safety. After other officers arrived, he was taken without incident to the South County Mental Health Center.
Valderrama left a few minutes later, grateful for having been in the right place at the right time.
"I never thought, 'Oh, I feel great. I did something good,'" he said. "The only thing that came to my mind was that kid's mom is going to have one more day to enjoy with her son. I'm glad I was there to help him."
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