Truck-Driving Minister Saves Suicidal Man in Modesto

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MODESTO --

A Modesto man says he was able to save a suicidal man who jumped from an overpass above Highway 99 because God had them cross paths.

On January 7, at around 6 o'clock in the morning, 45-year-old Martin Perez jumped off the 7th street overpass and landed in the Southbound lanes of Highway 99. Truck driver Stephen Rodriguez said he had seconds to swerve his big rig away from Perez.

"When he fell, he literally bounced off the ground and I saw his face. And I had seconds, I mean a distance of 60 feet move," Rodriguez said.

Rodriguez told FOX40 he would have flipped his big rig, had it not been empty. He said he called 9-1-1 before backing his truck up, diverting drivers around Perez with a flashlight and ultimately pulling him out of traffic.

Perez survived the 20-foot fall with major injuries. He said he broke his foot, leg, hip, pelvis, a couple of ribs, punctured his lung and ripped his stomach. He is wheelchair bound, but recovering.

"Man, I'm glad to be alive," Martin Perez said.

Perez invited FOX40 to a graduation ceremony for his wife, who just completed 18 months sober in a drug treatment program. He said they were both recovering meth addicts who lost George kids to Child Protection Services, and that he tried to kill himself because he thought his wife would be better off without him.

"Now I realize, man I'm pretty stupid. Cause I wouldn't have been here for this ceremony today. I wasn't thinking. I was being selfish," Perez said.

Although Perez has not completed his own drug treatment program yet, Rodriguez is planning to sponsor him on the months ahead.

"Like I said, God had you fall in my path for a reason," Rodriguez said.

Although Rodriguez is a full time truck driver, he is also a minister for troubled men.

"When I found out he was a minister and all I thought wow, that's weird. This God guy is for real," Perez said.