911 Call: Stepfather alerts police to Ravenel bridge shutdown

MOUNT PLEASANT, SC (WCSC) - According to 911 tapes recently released, the stepfather of a man who tried to kill himself on the Arthur Ravenel Bridge alerted police after trying to convince his stepson not to hurt himself.

The incident shut down the Ravenel bridge for hours on Feb. 2 and ended with police taking 38-year-old Phillip DeClemente into custody. The 911 tapes reveal that DeClemente's stepfather called Charleston County 911 after receiving an unsettling text message from his stepson.

DeClemente's stepfather told dispatchers, "All it said was he is very disappointed, everybody better head to the Ravenel bridge for end and resolve."

Audio from 911 tapes indicate that DeClemente's stepfather made the call from Jacksonville, Fla. and told dispatchers that he tried to convince his stepson not to hurt himself.

"I just tried calling him and talking to him. He just said that he's not going to be taking anymore phone calls and he just evidently said something happened up there and he said everybody needs to take a look at the Ravenel bridge because he's going to end it all," DeClemente's stepfather told dispatchers.

Nearly 10 minutes after the call, drivers on the bridge started contacting 911 alerting authorities to a man in a white SUV blocking traffic with his vehicle in the northbound lanes.

Authorities would later identify that man as Phillip DeClemente. Just before the sun went down, police finally coaxed DeClemente out of his SUV. DeClemente faces a charge of reckless driving and possibly another charge of damage to public property.

Police say they found a firecracker smoke grenade inside the car and two cans of pepper spray.

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