Highway Patrol

101/280/680 Interchange in South Bay Reopens After Man Who Threatened to Jump Arrested

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Traffic was backed up for miles and hours in the South Bay Monday after the California Highway Patrol shut down a major interchange while responding to a man who threatened to jump from the freeway.

Police said the man was carrying a knife.

The distraught man, who was arrested after causing a six-hour shutdown of the 101/280/680  interchange and surrounding parts of the freeways, faces charges of criminal threats and brandishing a deadly weapon, police said.

At about 1 p.m. Monday, the CHP received calls of a man standing on the wall of the tallest connector ramp, threatening to jump. The CHP then shut down the interchange, which prompted traffic to swell into surrounding San Jose neighborhoods and stranded motorists on the freeways.

The freeway closures also snarled the evening rush-hour commute in the area. Dozens of commuters posted pictures of the man threatening to jump on NBC Bay Area's Facebook page.

Loann Vu, a driver who was caught in the traffic jam, said a trip that usually takes 10 minutes took about an hour due to closures.

For the Martinez family, a usual 20-minute trip from Sunnyvale to Alum Rock took two hours. "It was frustrating, but at the same time it's sad," Sunnyvale-resident Oscar Martinez said.

CHP reopened the area to motorists around 7:30 p.m. after the man turned himself in to police.

NBC Bay Area

During the standoff with police, acquaintances of the man were on the freeway underneath him, and tried to talk him down, CHP said. A police negotiator also responded to the scene.

"The primary goal of all law enforcement personnel on scene at every one of these incidents is primarily safety and the safety of the individual themselves, and the safety of the motoring public," CHP Officer Ross Lee said.

The following portions of freeway were affected during the closure: SB 680 to SB 101, NB 101 to NB 280, SB 280 at 101.

Monday's incident is the third time in the last several months a single person has impacted the commute for thousands in the Bay Area. In some cases, that even included delays for emergency responders. "To my knowledge, nothing major or significant, but to the individuals involved obviously they are always a big deal," Lee said. "We want to make sure we always take every incident that happens out there very seriously and give the people that are affected the right service they require."

If you or someone you know needs help, there are plenty of resources available, including the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).

Gonzo Rojas contributed to this report.

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