A 26-year-old man who jumped from an SUV on Interstate 95 near Walterboro later tried to leap from the helicopter taking him to a hospital Saturday evening, forcing the aircraft to land.
Altoro Alveriz was a back-seat passenger in a Ford Expedition around 6:45 p.m., according to the Colleton County Sheriff's Office. Two other men in the vehicle said they were laborers who had finished work in Denmark and were heading south, back to Florida.
Around mile marker 60 on I-95, just north of the Bells Highway interchange, the vehicle's other occupants said they were listening to music and joking around when they heard a rear window being rolled down, according to the incident report. Then they saw Alveriz climbing through it.
Their attempts to catch Alveriz by his shirt failed, and the man fell onto the pavement, they told deputies. The Ford was traveling about 70 mph, they estimated.
Alveriz's head was bleeding when rescuers arrived. A LifeNet helicopter later started to take Alveriz to Medical University Hospital when he became combative with paramedics about five minutes into the flight.
"The guy broke loose and was fighting with the crew, which is dangerous with that small helicopter," said Barry McRoy, director of Colleton County Fire and Rescue. "They had to wrestle with a guy in a helicopter. … It had the potential to be a bad situation."
Deputies said Alveriz attempted to jump out of the helicopter, which promptly landed at Lowcountry Regional Airport. McRoy said deputies and paramedics then fitted Alveriz with a sleeve that prevented him from moving his arms and legs.
He was then taken by ambulance to the Charleston hospital, where he was placed under intensive care. His condition Monday was not known.
None of the medics were injured.
Alveriz's co-workers told sheriff's investigators that he had been visibly upset earlier in the day, after placing a phone call to someone from Mexico. They said he started drinking Bud Light and had been consuming the beer "all day," the report said.
Sheriff's investigators said Alveriz's two co-workers continued their trip to north Florida.
Reach Andrew Knapp at 937-5414 or twitter.com/offlede.