Man climbs billboard on Prien Lake, shutting down road for hours

Published: Jul. 5, 2021 at 7:49 PM CDT
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Lake Charles, LA (KPLC) - A man climbed up a billboard and shut down a portion of Prien Lake Road for hours Monday morning.

The Lake Charles Police Department said they responded to a call made at 9:04 a.m. about a man on a billboard on Prien Lake Road near Hertz rentals and across from Popeye’s on Monday morning. Police blocked the portion of the road between Ryan Street and just west of June Street for almost two hours.

“When I got to work this morning we saw a man climbing up there, but we didn’t know if he was just working on the billboard. Because it’s an electric billboard,” Abigail Stutzman said.

Stutzman said she first saw the man around 8 a.m. Another witness said she saw the man when she came into work as well.

“I didn’t want to assume that he was just trying to commit suicide, you know. That’s what people would normally think, but I just didn’t want to assume that. But he was up there and the billboard - he was just sitting there at that point,” Lisa Allison said.

Police said the man did not threaten suicide or harm to himself or others - he just refused to come down.

“Well, at first we were thinking, ‘oh it might no be too long.’ But it did take a couple hours, you know. But they were able to talk him out of it,” Stutzman said.

Witnesses say they watched a Lake Charles police officer use compassion, as they described it, to encourage the man to come down.

“He really reached out to him. He didn’t make him feel any other way but I’m here to listen to you, you know. He even told him like, ’we can talk about it. Whatever it is, you know, we can go over here and talk about it,’ whatever. You know, it was a sense of compassion at that moment,” Allison said.

She said that she applauds the work of the officer who convinced the man to come down and said when the man did make it down, he fully complied with law enforcement.

Police said the man was transported to the hospital to be checked, as part of their standard procedure.

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