by Max Brantley
The Little Rock Police Department's Sgt. Cassandra Davis said Candace Middleton, a 911 call dispatcher has resigned, thus bringing an end to investigation of her actions related to the death of a Little Rock woman who died after skidding into an icy pond in January. The 911 operator notified the ambulance service of the accident, but not police and fire units, the latter of which has a rescue team for water rescues. The resignation closes access to her personnel file because the state Freedom of Information law allows review of files only on completion of investigations that lead to suspension or firing.
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 dispatched to the scene, at which point it was determined that only M.E.M.S. was dispatched. For reasons undetermined the Little Rock Fire Department and the Little Rock Police Department had not been dispatched.
Once it was determined there was a delay in dispatching fire and police to this call an investigation into the circumstances was initiated. On June 14, 2013 call taker Candace Middleton (hire date 3/12/2012) resigned her position with the Little Rock Police Department. The investigation into this incident ceased upon receipt of her resignation letter. Based on the fact that no disciplinary action was administered in the form of a termination or suspension as it relates to this incident the investigation into this incident is not subject to FOI.
Jinglei Yi, 39, died as a result of the wreck. 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 Yang, were alive when removed from the car, but she died at a hospital. Her son survived but suffered serious injuries.
Middleton was suspended the day after the accident.