MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - A man was spotted on top of the Hernando-DeSoto Bridge in late April. Drivers assumed the worst, but the man at the center of the confusion was simply doing his job.
David Stephens is an electrician who has been changing the lights on the bridge for more than a decade.
Stephens works for Haynes and Howell Electric Company, but he is not your typical electrician.
"Climb the bridge and go to the top," Stephens said.
He is contracted with the City of Memphis to change 200 sodium vapor lights along the iconic Hernando-DeSoto bridge.
"It takes a lot out of you and you don't want to be tired when you get up there," he said.
When he's on the job, he spends up to 6-8 hours in the sky, 109 feet above the water.
Last month he was on the bridge doing his job when a passerby spotted him and thought he was in danger.
"No, I'm not jumping. I'm trying to fix the lights for Memphis in May," Stephens said.
He was wearing safety gear and said it's the first time he has been mistaken for a jumper in more than 10 years of changing the lights.
He looked down and saw several squad cars.
"I showed them I was working on the light fixture, and I put it back down and picked up the lamp and pointed at that, and they still just stood there looking up at me," Stephens said.
Officers eventually received word that he was working and simply doing his job.
While he's focused on staying safe up there, he said he hopes next time the city will notify police about his dangerous job.
"They have a lot more things better to do than look at me on the bridge," Stephens said.