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Death

Francisco Sanchez Jumps off 210 Freeway Overpass, Finally Kills Himself After 10 Suicide Attempts, 2 Prosthetic Legs

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Mon, Jun 6, 2011 at 1:15 PM

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Over the last decade, 41-year-old Duarte resident Francisco Solomon Sanchez has been engaged in an inner battle between mind and body -- and up until last Friday, the latter refused, against all odds, to quit.

The Pasadena Star-News reports that Sanchez "has jumped or threatened to jump from freeway overpasses and other high places in the Duarte area more than 10 times in recent years." However, his perseverance...

... was met by a heartbreaking string of failures.

Most incredibly, following a 2003 leap from the same 210 freeway overpass where he died last week, Sanchez shattered both his ankles, and had to be outfitted with two prosthetic legs. (We've contacted Duarte police to find out whether that meant complete amputation.) He was wearing those legs when he jumped off the overpass to his final resting place on Friday.

The bridge runs from Buena Vista Street to Mountain Avenue in Duarte (see photo).

So how, through so many attempts to end his life, did no one talk Sanchez out of it? The Star-News seems to conclude that, over the years, officials did everything they could to step between the Duarte man and his desired fate:

While Sanchez has been held for brief psychiatric evaluation periods many times after his previous suicide attempts, mental health and law enforcement officials have said their capabilities to intervene are limited.

Suicidal individuals are often held for 72-hour psychiatric evaluations, and in some cases up to two weeks. Theoretically, patients could be held for longer if they pose an imminent threat to themselves or others, but experts have said such a measure is extremely rare.

The last of Sanchez' serial suicide attempts may have been more successful due to its timing: Police say he was run over by at least one vehicle once he landed in 4:15 p.m. traffic, at the height of rush hour.

May he finally R.I.P.

[@simone_electra/swilson@laweekly.com]

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