State trooper who saved suicidal teen will get Hero Award

·2 min read

May 22—The boy was perched precariously on the overpass over the interstate. He had called 911 and told a dispatcher that he was having a really hard time and was going to jump.

A calm, compassionate state police trooper saved the boy's life that night. For that, Trooper Nick Quintiliani will be honored with a 2022 New Hampshire Hero Award.

Quintiliani, who joined the New Hampshire State Police in 2013, was working the midnight shift on June 23, 2021, when he got the 3 a.m. call. The 911 dispatchers had kept the boy, who was 15, on the line as Quintiliani raced to the location in Windham at Exit 3 on Interstate 93.

As Quintiliani pulled up on the overpass, he spotted the teen sitting on the outside edge of the railing, his feet dangling over the highway. "This child is not getting hurt on my watch," he remembers thinking.

The trooper parked his cruiser a distance away and approached quietly on foot, talking calmly to the boy all the while. He introduced himself and told him he was there to help.

Quintiliani told himself if he got the opportunity to get the boy off the railing, "I'm going for it."

The situation grew more perilous.

"As I approached, I observed the boy shuffle forward in his seated position on the guardrail to lean himself further over the edge of the bridge railing," Quintiliani said in an email.

Then he saw the boy look away, staring down at the roadway and the rocks below. Quintiliani knew he had to act.

"I sprinted up behind him, wrapped my arms around him and lifted us both backwards and to the ground in the breakdown lane of the overpass," he said.

The boy was struggling, trying to break away and get back to the edge of the bridge. Quintiliani managed to hold onto him, handcuffing him to keep him safe and then summoned the EMTs who had positioned themselves just up the road.

After the boy was safe, Quintiliani had time to react: "Thank God he is OK and thank God he can be reunited with his family," he said.

Quintiliani doesn't want a lot of attention for what he did that night. He said he's "incredibly humbled" to have been selected to be in this year's group of Hero Award recipients.

But he said in an email, "Please know that all of my brother and sister NHSP troopers really are heroic in their actions and efforts every single day."

The New Hampshire Hero Awards honor New Hampshire residents who have risked their lives in the previous year to save or attempt to save the life of another person. The program is sponsored by Citizens Bank and presented by the New Hampshire Union Leader.

The honorees will be recognized Tuesday at a 3 p.m. ceremony held at the State House in Concord.