by Max Brantley
The Little Rock Police Department has announced suspension of a police communications officer because of a failure in immediately sending emergency responders to a report of a car that slid off an icy road in western Little Rock yesterday and submerged in a pond. The driver died and her child was hospitalized. The LRPD release:
On Monday, January 14, 2013, the Little Rock Communications Center received a transferred cellular 911 call from Pulaski County 911 at 7:57 a.m. The call information indicated two people were trapped inside their vehicle that was in a pond on Cooper Orbit Road, just east of Capitol Hill Boulevard and Rushmore Avenue. The Little Rock 911 Operator notified Metropolitan Emergency Medical Services (M.E.M.S.) of this call at 8:01 a.m.
At 8:17 a.m., M.E.M.S. called back to Little Rock Communications to verify that the Little Rock Fire Department was enroute to the scene, at which point it was determined that only M.E.M.S. was dispatched. For reasons undetermined at this time, the Little Rock Fire Department and the Little Rock Police Department had not been dispatched.
At 8:23 a.m., the call was dispatched to the Little Rock Fire Department, who sent a Water Rescue Unit. The Little Rock Police Department was also dispatched to the scene at 8:27 a.m. According to the records it was approximately twenty six minutes before the Little Rock Fire Department was dispatched and thirty minutes before the Little Rock Police Department was dispatched.
Once it was determined there was a delay in dispatching fire and police to this call an investigation into
the circumstances was initiated. At this point, the 911 operator has been relieved of duty pending the
outcome of this investigation.
Sgt. Cassandra Davis said the call originally went to a county 911 operator because it was reported by a cell phone call that was relayed by a tower in the county, under the sheriff's jurisdiction. The accident happened in Little Rock city limits, in police jurisidiction, but near the western edge of the city. The delay in dispatch of emergency crews with ability to get in the water — which MEMS cannot do — may have been critical, though the fire crew still had 11 miles to cover to reach the scene from its station downtown.
Jingli Yei, 39, died in the wreck after her vehicle slid into the water in sub-freezing weather. She was able to place the distress call by cell phone from her car. According to media accounts, she and her 5-year-old son, Le Ying, were alive when removed from the car, but she died at a hospital. Her son was in critical condition today at Children's Hospital.