Police radio traffic relates how Mount Pleasant officers ordered pizza for man threatening to jump from bridge

Police offer a pizza to a man who is walking on the outside ledge of the Ravenel Bridge. Incidents on I-526 and the Ravenel Bridge made traffic headaches throughout Mount Pleasant Monday June 24, 2013. Grace Beahm/Staff

As the takeout order that Mount Pleasant police officers placed Monday stirs talk nationwide, authorities' communications that day indicate how they used pizza to ease a man's hunger as he threatened to leap from the Arthur Ravenel Jr. Bridge.

Websites such as the Drudge Report have noted the story about the ordeal that tied up traffic for five hours. On NBC's “The Tonight Show,” comedian Jay Leno used it to comment on Americans' eating habits.

But to the Mount Pleasant Police Department, it was no laughing matter.

About 7 a.m., a 46-year-old man stopped his Honda Pilot on the bridge, climbed over a concrete barrier and stood on a ledge.

Over the next hours, he used his cellphone to speak with his lawyer and people in the Houston area: his wife and an insurance agent, according to the communications.

Officers remarked that crisis negotiators were stuck in traffic. Pizza wasn't mentioned until about 10 a.m.

“Hey, do me a favor,” an officer said. “Get a call into Andolini's. I'll be down there to pick up a large pepperoni.”

“They're making a pizza,” an officer later said, “15-20 minutes.”

But the police didn't promptly pick up the order.

“Hey, can we get somebody go to Andolini's and just get a couple of pieces of pizza and bring them up here,” an officer reminded others. “He said pepperoni.”

“Yeah, I called Andolini's like an hour ago and told them that we were going to be coming to pick up a large,” a policeman responded.

“10-4. Is it pepperoni, do you know?”


“10-4. Just get somebody to ring it up when they can.”

A manager at the Coleman Boulevard restaurant later gave the pizza to the authorities free of charge. But the communications do not indicate that the pie played a role in resolving the situation.

“Did we confirm somebody was going to get that food?” a policeman radioed.

“I just picked it up,” another said. “I'm on my way back now. It should take me a second to get through traffic.”

It seemed coincidental, a police spokesman later said, that the standoff ended just after officers gave the man a slice.

Reach Andrew Knapp at 937-5414 or twitter.com/offlede.

The joke about this incident comes at about the three-minute mark in this video clip.