A standoff on U.S. Highway 290 between a naked woman on top of an 18-wheeler truck and sheriff's deputies stopped traffic for hours. It was an unbelievable ordeal. A woman parked her car on the busy freeway, stripped off her clothes and climbed 15 feet in the air on top of a cargo truck. She was dancing at times, sitting and refusing to come down from on top of the heavy duty vehicle.
“She did not make any sense of what she was trying to tell the first deputies who arrived," explains Harris County Sheriff’s Office Deputy Thomas Gilliland. "She was talking about Wall Street and aliens.”
The 25-year-old woman stopped her car in front of the cargo truck on Monday morning during rush hour on the Northwest Freeway westbound lanes near the Huffmeister Road exit. She disrobed and climbed the truck.
“Had she slipped and fallen, she could have hurt herself tremendously,” adds Deputy Gilliland.
Deputies from the Harris County Critical Incident Response Team were called in to bring the standoff to a safe end and to determine what drove the woman to this extreme act.
“From what they said, it felt more like a mental health break maybe induced by drugs,” adds Deputy Gilliland.
Memorial Hermann clinical social worker Theresa Fawvor says people with mental illness sometimes turn to illegal drugs.
“Trying to self-medicate to either stop the thought disturbances or voices etcetera,” explains Fawvor. She also says turning to illegal drugs is clearly a bad choice for multiple reasons.
“What's out there right now is very scary and people often times don't even know what they're taking in,” adds Fawvor.
Deputies were able to speak with the woman's husband and after two and a half hours of completely shutting down the freeway as the Cy Fair Volunteer Fire Department raised two bucket lifts alongside the woman and specialized deputies rescued, then sedated her.
“A deputy who's trained in mental health," explains Deputy Gilliland. "Also a trained clinician in mental health impairment was able to get to her and start talking with her.”
The woman was taken to a hospital and underwent a mental evaluation and toxicology screening. Just before the incident on the Northwest Freeway, the woman is believed to have been involved in two minor traffic accidents in Jersey Village where she allegedly drove away from the scene.