TARRYTOWN, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — A bizarre incident took place Monday on the Tappan Zee Bridge.
A man attached himself to a rope ladder and dangled from the side of the bridge with a large sign for hours.READ MORE: NYPD Officer Jason Rivera Fatally Shot, Officer Wilbert Mora Critically Injured Responding To Harlem Domestic Dispute
WCBS 880’s Alex Silverman On The Story
Rockland County Executive Spokesperson Ron Levine told 1010 WINS the man who dangled from the middle of the span was Michael A. Davitt of Garnerville. Davitt was sitting on top of a large, flapping sign for hours that said “Rockland Executive Legislature Coverup Retaliation.”
According to CBS 2’s Pablo Guzman, State Police had to rescue Davitt from himself. He was 75 feet above the water. His makeshift gear was not sturdy, police said. The rope he depended on was slicing against a fence, slowly cutting into it. Shortly before 2 p.m., authorities managed to lower the rope ladder down toward a boat waiting below. Just a few feet above the water, Davitt jumped in. He tried to swim away, but was picked up by a Yonkers Police boat.
When the boat reached the shore, Davitt was seen being escorted by police, walking under his own power. Officials told Guzman that Davitt asked police for a tobacco pipe so he could have a smoke.
1010 WINS’ Carol D’Auria On The Story
Davitt was harnessed to the rope ladder, which was attached to a van above, Guzman reports. He dangled roughly halfway between the water and the bridge. State Police Capt. Evelyn Mallard said in addition to his gear, Davitt came prepared to stay a while as he had a Thermos. He was eventually taken to Westchester Medical Center for observation. Charges are pending the outcome of an examination.
The incident began at around 10:45 a.m. Two lanes on the Westchester-bound side were closed and traffic was backed up all the way to Exit 14 in Nanuet.
“This is someone who had previously worked for the county, he was separated from service,” Rockland County spokesman Ron Levine told CBS 2’s Derricke Dennis.READ MORE: 'The Loss Of A Hero': NYPD Mourns Death Of 22-Year-Old Officer Jason Rivera
Levine described 54-year-old Davitt as troubled, saying he “ranted regularly” inside the county’s legislative chamber. He said Davitt would take to the podium and complain about being fired three years ago from his job as a substance abuse counselor at the county’s mental health office.
The reason: a one line statement from the county – “he couldn’t perform his duties.”
“And eventually just became disgruntled,” Levine said.
Whatever Davitt’s beef is with Rockland County, his neighbors said he didn’t bring it home. He kept to himself, worked on his yard and cars. No one imagined one day seeing him dangling from the Tappan Zee.
“Nothing out of the ordinary. When we saw him in passing, quiet guy,” said neighbor Alex Burger, who lives across the street in Garnerville
There was no answer at the house Davitt shares with his wife, but neighbors said the talk for years has been the family’s personal struggles.
“He wasn’t too happy about it. He lost his job, some financial problems. I guess some marital issues or something like that,” Burger said.MORE NEWS: With Tragic Shooting Of 2 Police Officers In Harlem, 5 NYPD Officers Have Been Shot In January
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