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Home > Topics > Safety

Woman who drove into pond dies after 911 call not put in system

An ambulance was dispatched immediately but police and fire dispatch was 30 minutes late for the woman who drove into a pond

By Jeannie Nuss 
The Associated Press

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — An Arkansas 911 operator did not enter a call into a computer system that would have notified police and fire dispatchers of a mother and son trapped inside a vehicle in a pond, authorities said Wednesday. The woman died hours later, and her 5-year-old son was in critical condition Wednesday, police said.

The Little Rock operator who handled the call from 39-year-old Jinglei Yi has been placed on paid administrative leave while authorities try to figure out what happened. The operator has not been charged with any wrongdoing.

Yi called 911 about 8 a.m. Monday after her vehicle hit a patch of ice, went over a curb and ended up in the pond, Police Department spokeswoman Sgt. Cassandra Davis said. A county dispatcher transferred the call to the 911 operator, who spoke with Yi briefly before hanging up and contacting an ambulance service.

An ambulance was dispatched a few minutes later to the west Little Rock pond, but police officers and firefighters weren't dispatched until about a half-hour later — after the ambulance service called to verify that they were en route.

It's still not clear whether the delay played any role in Yi's death. A doctor pronounced her dead at a local hospital at 11:45 a.m. Monday. A medical examiner is expected to determine the exact cause.

Laura Martin, who directs the city police and fire departments' communications branch, said the operator did not enter Yi's call into a computerized dispatching system that would have alerted police and fire dispatchers. The operator also ended Yi's call instead of using a transfer option that would have allowed her to keep Yi on the line while contacting the ambulance service, she said.

"Proper protocol would be ... we have a one-button transfer switch where you get (the ambulance service) on the line and you remain on the line with them until you're sure that they have handled the call," Martin said.

On the 911 call, which The Associated Press obtained under the Freedom of Information Act, a county dispatcher describes Yi's situation to the operator in Little Rock while Yi remains on the line.

Then, Yi describes her location and says there is water in her vehicle.

"The water is in my car right now," she said.

The Little Rock operator asked Yi for her name and asked her to hang on.

"OK, ma'am, we're going to get some help on the way for you, OK?" the operator said.

"OK. Thank you," Yi said. Then the call appears to end.

Neither Davis nor Martin would identify the operator, who was hired in March and completed a six-month probation period in September.

Associated PressCopyright 2015 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.


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Kenny Hay Kenny Hay Thursday, January 17, 2013 9:22:26 AM But she did dispatch an ambulance.....
Adam Kraus Adam Kraus Thursday, January 17, 2013 9:31:35 AM It may not be the dispatchers fault. Technology will fail when you need it most and CAD is no different. It was an MVA so under APCO or NPDS protocols it would be automatic fire & rescue, police, and EMS all emergency traffic. Until someone got on scene and advised anything different the Calvary is on the way. There needs to be a thorough investigation before anything is concluded and people need to remain open minded instead of believing the worthless news agencies who will say anything to get that story. That dispatcher is our brother/sister, may we atleast give him/her the benefit of the doubt until PROVEN otherwise.
Bobby Coble Bobby Coble Thursday, January 17, 2013 9:33:41 AM Ambulance crews are not specifically trained nor equipped to pull someone out of a vehicle, especially one in water and more than likely, fire and rescue would have been closer, enabling the patient to be removed from the water sooner. I see a lawsuit in the future.
Kenny Hay Kenny Hay Thursday, January 17, 2013 9:34:24 AM I agree and I want to know how long it took the ambulance to get there.
Kenny Hay Kenny Hay Thursday, January 17, 2013 9:38:56 AM That's odd, I've been in EMS for nearly 20 years and have been trained to pull someone out of a vehicle and that includes those in the water. Guess it's the difference in the way states train their providers.
Aaron Marquez Aaron Marquez Thursday, January 17, 2013 9:52:13 AM Either way it's better to send more then not.
Kenny Hay Kenny Hay Thursday, January 17, 2013 9:53:53 AM Well true and on most collisions we do have fire department and police response but most of the times we are first on scene and need to know what to do.
Ron Moede Ron Moede Thursday, January 17, 2013 9:58:45 AM BS the Ambulance crew did not know how to extracate Pts from car, its part of every EMT1A course, now the Ambulance might have not had PROPER equipment but they had training or at least they should of had it if not the state involved needs to come into national compliance...
Robin Daghlian-Curasco Robin Daghlian-Curasco Thursday, January 17, 2013 10:00:13 AM Yes we are SO trained..where did you go to school...Bobby do waht youve got to do..there is equipment on the bus to aid ind this rescue..I can think of 3 ways to complete this rescue right now...
Jeff Lewis Jeff Lewis Thursday, January 17, 2013 10:02:26 AM Until the final result is proven, withholding judgement is key. The ladies cell phone could have dropped off, dropped signal or the battery could have went dead. Additionally, had the dispatcher asked more questions, she could have coded the call differently. In Hillsborough County (Tampa, Fl), our questions are response specific and according to NPDS and APCO guidelines, , had the correct questions have been asked, it would have been determined that this is a DELTA Response. In our County, we would have paged Heavy Rescue and with Heavy Rescue, you get a Ladder, Engine. Battalion Chief and Rescue all from the same station. The BC may also determine from OUR notes in the system that the Technical Rescue team be dispatched as well. However, this has NOT always been the case. It wasnt just a few short years ago, before APCO and NPDS was integrated, that our dispatchers would simply put the address in the system and then tell the caller.."Ok, we have someone on the way", hang up and the code it as an Unknown Medical. Rescue gets on scene and its a Cardiac Arrest or some other call that requires the troops to show up! None of us were on that call and none of us know the full extent, but most of us are quick to judge.....LETS NOT DO THAT and as Adam stated, Support our fellow dispatcher.
Raymond Norwood Raymond Norwood Thursday, January 17, 2013 10:21:01 AM MEMS got there but the SUV was in 7 foot of water and are not equip to do water rescue. The dispatcher hung up on the woman and did not enter the call into 911 system so the police and fire were never dispatched. MEMS could have made it faster but there was ice on the roads. This is the dispatchers fault.
Bobby Coble Bobby Coble Thursday, January 17, 2013 10:30:46 AM Ron Moede So water rescue is part of the NREMT system now? That's funny. I went through EMT-B only a few years ago, and we had nothing about water rescue on my national test. I also have not had any water rescue training from my volunteer fire department. You guys need to remember, states have different standards of training, and water rescue is typically a specialized fire/rescue job, not EMS.
Kimberly Alice Scott Kimberly Alice Scott Thursday, January 17, 2013 11:24:14 AM I just watched the news video above, and I am angry and devastated for this family. It was clearly stated that the 911 operated DID NOT enter the call into the system, therefore preventing NECESSARY water rescue personel (fire fighters) to arrive in a quick and timely manner. The SUV was UNDER WATER! VERY, VERY COLD WATER! EMS are NOT equipped with the diving equipment needed to protect themselves while extracting the victims from the vehicle. If EMS enters the water without proper gear, they are looking a hypothermia, which sets in very quickly in very cold water. THEN WHAT! Extract the patients, pull them to the shore, collapse beside them, and hope nobody dies of hypothermia before police and fire rescue arrive in 43 BLESSED MINUTES! If the vehicle was partially submerged, and the patients were accessible to some degree, then YES, EMS could have provided treatment on scene before police and fire crews showed up. But, even in this senario, we are still left with the 43 MINUTE wait time due to a 911 call that was not logged into the system. EMS can only do so much to keep people alive in situations like this. The 911 operated failed to do his/her job, as it was clearly stated in the video. I accept that a full investigation needs to be done, but the end result is still going to be the same. A mother as died, a 5 year old child fights for his life in hospital, and a husband/father/devoted family man is absolutely crushed beyond words. I send my deepest condolences for his loss, and I pray God will give him is son back. I also believe that, if there is to be any sense of right and wrong, and justice for a family that has been torn apart, that this 911 operator has answered her last call. God Bless this family, may they feel his comfort and love surround them.
Steve Jacobi Steve Jacobi Thursday, January 17, 2013 12:10:01 PM Why did the ambulance sit around and wait for 30 minutes before asking dispatch if anyone else like the FD was coming to help? A normal EMT or Paramedic should be asking immediately for an ETA of Fire as soon as they saw this.
Steve Jacobi Steve Jacobi Thursday, January 17, 2013 12:12:03 PM It does say...just a few minutes. But, they waited on scene for 30 minutes without asking dispatch if Fire was coming.
Robert Gift Robert Gift Thursday, January 17, 2013 1:41:39 PM How sad. What a horrible mistake. Spare tire floats. In our POVs we have 200 ft of 1/4 -inch polypropylene rope to tie to our spare wheel. Don't most backboards float?
Carol Chambers Weindruch Carol Chambers Weindruch Thursday, January 17, 2013 2:37:38 PM @Hay....are you sure you're trained in EMS...paramedics in most states are not trained to dive into freezing water to extricate victims. It is usually done by FF's or medics who are specially trained in water rescue and are on the response team. The medics that responded on the ambulance were not equipped to dive in the water. I am a paramedic with 20+ years, I also scuba dive but when I worked the ambulance it didn't include me risking becoming another victim for the special response team members to have to rescue! It's often better to remain silent if you don't know what you're talking about.
Jeff Lewis Jeff Lewis Thursday, January 17, 2013 2:52:04 PM Before ANYONE jumps down Kenny Hay's back, know that EACH state has different minimum standards. Hence why some states do NOT recognize other states curriculum! Just because he may have training in his state, does NOT mean we have it in Florida or other states! I know in my EMT and Paramedic classes, I was NOT trained in Water Rescue. We have specialized personnel just for that reason! Just like, we do not carry guns and are expected to run into a shooting scene! We have SWAT Medics and Teams for that! I am NO GOOD to ANYONE if I am dead or overcome by a birage of bullets, fumes, flames or water! Some volunteer agencies DO send their members for Water Rescue training. Simply because they ARE the only responders. When I lived in Wisconsin, our EMS unit had a Porta-Power unit AND a Hurst Jaws of Life. We also ran with 4 people on our EMS crew. Now, does that make me a stupid EMT or Paramedic because I am not Water Rescue trained? NOPE! If Kenny Hay is....great for him and his agency, but know what your talking about and know there are well over15,000 private ambulance services and nearly 30,000 government owned services nationwide. EVERY agency and EVERY department enacts their own set of Standard Operating Procedures and their own incentives for members and employees to make more money and better serve their communities!
Stan Neal Stan Neal Thursday, January 17, 2013 2:59:51 PM This is one reason why I don't pay any attention to EMS websites. If I want to be annoyed, I'll just go to work :)
Ed Hillenbrand Ed Hillenbrand Friday, January 18, 2013 5:55:00 AM For EMS1 this is a remarkably complete story. For those that claim that ambulances are equipped for cold water rescue, I'd love to see your daily check list and your agency's training budget, as well as your SoPs. In the 18 County area of UpState NY that I am familiar with we have TWO agencies that are so equipped: the State Police Dive Team and St. Johnsville VFD. There were others that were, but with tight budgets I do not know if they kept them.
Tim Jackson Tim Jackson Friday, January 18, 2013 3:24:15 PM It is so easy to arm chair quarterback this situation. Many factors have to be looked at like the ambulance service may have a policy on crews not doing water rescues, icy roads, communication issues and so forth. What nobody has said anything about what a sad loss for this gentleman. As EMS personnel we are so quick to judge other EMS services or personnel and we need to take these issues and learn from them.
Annette Bailey Annette Bailey Friday, January 18, 2013 3:59:12 PM your so smart.
Andrew Naidu Andrew Naidu Saturday, January 19, 2013 12:03:40 AM I understand the hypothermia scenario - ems medics who were already on scene would it been different if was their families were in that vehicle..
Mike Liebig Mike Liebig Friday, February 08, 2013 3:13:10 PM Failure to handle the call properly, PERIOD.

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