When it came to saving a 12-year-old boy, Jessie Ferreira Cavallo, 28, didn’t think twice. The brave police officer jumped from a 30-foot overpass down to where the boy’s motionless body lay.
Cavallo had been driving to work when she saw the boy jump over the guardrail and onto the pavement below. She quickly parked her car and ran over to the rail where she saw him lying below. She ran back to her car, gathered first-aid supplies and headed over the guardrail.
“Everything happened so fast and I think my adrenaline was pumping so high,” she told WLTX. “I didn’t realize how high it was. It seemed doable. It didn’t seem that high.”
"I wasn't thinking too much," she added. "I just knew, when I looked down and saw him ... he looked dead. I couldn't see anything other than blood. I thought to myself, 'He needs help. I need to help him.'"
Cavallo works for the Hastings-on-Hudson Police Department in New York. While she was assisting the boy, a soldier walked by and helped her put a neck brace and splint on the young boy. Both women saw the boy open his eyes but he closed them again.
"Friday, after this whole thing happened, I went to work and worked to 11 p.m.," she said. "I didn't realize what was going on until yesterday," she said. "I thought I jumped over a brick wall or a cement barrier. It was so fast. It was more like tunnel vision. I saw the boy and I needed to get to him. I didn't see anything else."
The boy is now recovering from a broken arm, broken nose and leg injuries at Westchester Medical Center, and Cavallo hopes to visit him.
“I really want to know how he is doing. I don’t know anything about him. I don’t know his name or anything,” she said. “I just want to give him a hug.”
Cavallo is no stranger to heroic acts. In her seven years on the force, she has been honored a half dozen times for acts of valor, including for saving a senior citizen from a heart attack and intervening to prevent several overdoses.
The boy from the Bronx was being treated at Andrus, a private, nonprofit organization that offers services for vulnerable children, children with special needs, and children with emotional and behavior issues.
According to Andrus, “The language of a child struggling with complex emotions can be easily misinterpreted. Anger, defiance or isolation can mask true feelings of frustration, sadness, or fear. Andrus specializes in working with children who struggle to communicate and process the emotional impacts of their experiences. Some have been injured by the circumstance of neglect, abuse, poverty or violence.”