Mrs. Claus saves a woman's life driving home from Fredericksburg holiday event

Mrs. Claus, a.k.a. Fredericksburg Sheriff’s Office Lieutenant T. Merrell, saved a life while driving home from a holiday event.

Lieutenant Merrell was driving home on Tuesday night just after 8 p.m. after playing the part of Mrs. Claus for the Public Safety Santa Run.

She saw a young woman on the Falmouth Bridge bending over the railing and looking down.

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Lieutenant Merrell turned her car around to check on the young woman and found the woman in the same spot with one leg hanging over the bridge. Lieutenant Merrell immediately called for assistance over her police radio. 

Still dressed from head to toe in her Mrs. Claus dress, boots, glasses and wig, Lieutenant Merrell approached the woman and started using her crisis intervention skills. 

Fredericksburg Police Patrol Sergeant A. Lynch was also driving home after working the Santa Run and pulled over to assist Lieutenant Merrell. FSO Lieutenant Merrell and FPD Sergeant Lynch worked as a team and were able to safely pull the 25-year-old woman off the railing. 

The woman was taken to a nearby hospital where she is receiving the mental health assistance she needs. 

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"The most amazing part of this story is that Lieutenant Merrell and Sergeant Lynch typically take a different route home. Call it divine intervention or fate, I truly believe these officers were meant to take the route they did and help save this woman’s life. I applaud them both for flawlessly utilizing their crisis intervention skills," said Police Chief Layton. 

Fredericksburg Sheriff Foster echoed Chief Layton’s sentiment and stated, "This was remarkable teamwork between the Fredericksburg Sheriff’s Office and Police Department and a true Christmas miracle." 

If you or anyone you know are struggling with mental health or having suicidal thoughts, call or text 988 to receive assistance from the Suicide Prevention Resource Center. For access to mental health services, contact the Rappahannock Area Community Service Board at 540-373-6876