Police officer jumps off overpass to save boy's life in daring New York rescue
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a boy wearing a black hat: Officer Jessie Ferreira Cavallo
Officer Jessie Ferreira Cavallo

WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. — A 12-year-old boy is recovering and remains hospitalized days after he jumped several feet from an overpass and a police officer jumped to help him Friday. 

"Everything happened so fast and I think my adrenaline was pumping so high" said police Officer Jessie Ferreira Cavallo, of the Hastings-on-Hudson, N.Y., police department over the weekend.

Ferreira, who was on her way to work in the village, was one of a few passers-by to stop to help. She said she jumped after the boy and helped him after he was unresponsive on the ground.

Ferreira said she immediately parked her car on the shoulder, stuffed her pockets with first-aid materials from her car and then jumped after the boy, who she said looked like a young teenager.

"I wasn't thinking too much," she said. "I just knew, when I looked down and saw him ... he looked dead. I couldn't see anything other than blood. I thought to myself, 'He needs help. I need to help him.' "

More: Suicide warning signs: Here's what to look for when someone needs help

She said another woman, in a military uniform, also stopped to help.

"Both me and her together, we were able to aid him and assist him," she said.

The boy was unresponsive, she said, and they put a neck brace and a splint on him, and checked his airway.

After some time, the boy opened his eyes, but was mostly non-responsive, Ferreira said.

"I was talking," she said. "He wasn't really responding back."

The boy, who went to the hospital with a broken arm, broken nose and leg injuries is expected to survive, said Kieran O'Leary, a Westchester County, New York, police spokesman on Monday. 

County police were called to the scene Friday afternoon after the boy, a Bronx native, took off from the Andrus campus in Yonkers, New York, O'Leary said.

Andrus is a private, nonprofit organization that provides services for vulnerable children, children with special needs, and children with severe emotional and behavior issues, according to its website. Andrus officials could not immediately be reached for comment.

Andrus staff followed the boy and were speaking to him on the parkway when he ended up plummeting onto Tuckahoe Road, O'Leary said. It's unclear how far the fall was.

In addition to the woman in a military uniform, Laura Yakaboski, a Yonkers police officer who was off-duty at the time, also was passing by and stopped to help, said Yonkers Sgt. Jared Singer.

Yakaboski reported the incident and helped direct the ambulance to the scene, Singer said. 

It wasn't until Saturday, she said, that Ferreira realized what she had done.

"Friday, after this whole thing happened, I went to work and worked to 11 p.m.," she said. "I didn't realize what was going on until yesterday," she said Sunday. "That's when it hit me. I didn't realize how high it was. It seemed doable. It didn't seem that high. I thought I jumped over a brick wall, or a cement barrier. It was so fast. It was more like tunnel vision. I saw the boy and I needed to get to him. I didn't see anything else."

Ferreira could not be reached Monday, but she said over the weekend that she had planned on seeing the boy in the hospital Sunday.

"I just hope that he's doing well," she said. "I just want to give him a hug."

This isn't the first time Ferreira has saved a life. The 28-year-old officer said she has received about six lifesaving awards in her seven years as a police officer.

While working as a Mount Vernon officer, she saved an elderly man after a heart attack by using a defibrillator and cardiopulmonary resuscitation, and she received several awards in Hastings for administering naloxone in heroin overdoses.

She has also been recognized for undercover work with the FBI and a county task force.
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