Thursday, January 31, 2008

Schoolboy made 49 calls to 911.

Police in Round Rock, Texas were stumped by the 49 emergency calls that came in from an unregistered cellphone on Nov. 14, 2006. The caller would say nothing, or giggle briefly, and hang up.

Eventually the cops found the perpetrator -- a 7-year-old calling from school. "He was just doing it for fun," said police spokesman Eric Poteet.

The phone had been deactivated and could call only 911. Dispatchers used cellphone towers to determine its approximate location.

During one call, dispatchers heard classroom chatter in the background and decided to check the elementary school. Once they found the boy, the officers confiscated the phone and called his parents. Although making silent or abusive calls to 911 is punishable by up to 180 days in jail and a $2,000 fine, the boy was not charged because of his age. (info from The Associated Press)

Robber let victim call 911.

A gunman robbing a convenience store in Altamonte Springs, Florida, allowed a clerk to call 911 and apologized after the woman said she might be having a heart attack -- but he still took $30 and cigarettes.

The masked man entered the Kangaroo Express store last April and pointed a pistol at clerk Mary Parker. He told her to empty the cash register into a bag. He then pulled up a stool for her to sit on, and told her he was stealing because no one would hire him and he had bills to pay.

She started hyperventilating and pleaded with the gunman for help. "I have heart trouble. I'm probably going to have a heart attack," Parker said.

"Oh my, ma'am, please do not have a heart attack," he said.

The gunman let Parker call 911, and she told the operator she was having a heart attack, but didn't mention the robber. A customer came in and, without seeing the gunman, tried to calm Parker. She handed him the phone, and he spoke to the 911 operator.

The gunman then reappeared and told the man to get into the beverage cooler. He then grabbed his loot and apologized again. "You have a good day. I'm sorry this had to happen." he moaned, and went out the door. Police said Parker is OK. (info from The Associated Press)

Two idiots arrested after calling 911 to buy drugs.

Two men in Pomona, California were busted last April after they mistakenly called 911 while trying to page a drug dealer. Paul White and Ryan Ogle tapped 911 as an urgent code to the dealer when they made the call from a pay phone.

"No one said criminals are smart," Police Sgt. Michael Olivieri said.

Cops traced the call and directed a patrol officer to the pay phone. He saw two men standing near the phone and a parked vehicle, which turned out to be stolen. The officer searched the men and the car and found possible burglary tools, a shaved ignition key, and a methamphetamine pipe.

The men were booked for investigation of auto theft, possession of burglary tools, destruction of evidence, and parole violation. Ogle was cited on a misdemeanor charge and released. White, who was on parole for a previous burglary violation, was being held on a parole violation. "They admitted they were in a hurry for dope and made an error in dialing," Olivieri said. (info from The Associated Press)

Man called 911 to be rescued from police.

In July of 2007, a man in Largo, Florida, was arrested after he called 911 and told a dispatcher he was surrounded by police officers and needed help.

Police first encountered Dana Shelton after being called to investigate a disturbance at a bar on Sunday but had found no problems and told him to move along.

Shelton then called 911 to report he was "surrounded by Largo police."

Shelton, who officers said appeared intoxicated, was charged with misdemeanor misuse of 911. The charge carries maximum penalties of one year in jail and a $1,000 fine. (info from The Assocuiated Press)

Lonely/horny/broke man
made hundreds of calls to 911.

Cheveon Alonzo Ford, 21, was arrested last July and charged with making obscene and harassing telephone calls. He dialed 911 to chat with dispatchers nearly 300 times in a month. He told authorities he began calling 911 because "I have no minutes on my phone and 911 is a free call."

Ford was held on a $50,000 bond.

Officers used GPS coordinates from Ford's cellphone to track his location to the west Pensacola home where he was arrested. "His phone service had been cut off and 911 was the only number he could dial from the phone," said Bob Boschen, communication chief for Escambia County. Boschen said many of Ford's 292 calls were sexual in nature.

"When he would call and a male dispatcher would answer, he would hang up," he said. "Our policy says that if a caller is belligerent in nature we have to get enough information to process the call and then we can disconnect," he said.

Ford never asked dispatchers for help or indicated he was in trouble. (info from The Associated Press)

911 operator quit after falling asleep

Domonica Ivory was hired in 2001 to be one of 79 emergency call operators in Austin, Texas. In May of 2003, she was recognized as the Police Department’s Communications Employee of the Month, only to be caught sleeping on the job in October. A troubling trend was starting to emerge. In July 2007, the bottom fell out.

Caller: “Hello. Is someone on the line?”

This unanswered call was about a drunk driver. Another involved a man and woman who were being threatened. Supervisors claim they caught Ivory sleeping seven times between July 9 and October 15. “Certainly, having a 911 call taker sleeping on the job is a very serious matter,” said Rocky Burke, communications division manager.

Then e-mails about Ivory started to pile up. In August, a supervisor reported three calls routed to Ivory that were not answered. There was also a call for “shots fired” where the supervisor claims that Ivory sounded groggy. In September, the warnings continued about Ivory's slurred speech and not answering calls.

Domonica Ivory was not fired. She was not suspended and she was not moved to another shift. Ivory was put on a Performance Improvement Plan at least twice. Her job performance did not improve. It was suggested that Ivory take breaks when she felt sleepy and walk around. Ivory was also asked if she would be willing to move to another job or shift. Supervisors say she did not act on any of the offers, and continued to fall asleep. She eventually resigned. (info from KVUE)

While rescuer called 911,
drunken crash victim stole and wrecked his car.

Friends Chase Torgerson and Cody Charpentier saw a car fly through the air and crash into a median divider on a dark and frigid northwestern Minnesota highway

"Everyone all right?! Everyone all right?!" Torgerson hollered toward the mangled metal as he and Charpentier ran from their car to the crash scene shortly after 1 a.m. on Tuesday.

Torgerson approached a man who was dangling out of two of the blown-out windows. He tended to the badly injured passenger, even putting his own gloves on the victim as gusty winds made the temperature feel like minus-34. At the same time, his bare hand held his cellphone to his ear as he called 911 for help.

"Chase! Turn around! Your car!" Charpentier screamed. The next thing Torgerson knew, he was chasing on foot after his car, which suddenly had been commandeered by one of the people from the crashed car who hadn't been injured. "What can I do?" he recalled. "There goes my car. I'm still on the line with 911." About 800 yards down the highway, Torgerson's car was rolled and totaled.

"Look what you get for your trouble," State Patrol Capt. Dick Wittenberg said of Torgerson's good deed. "You get your car stolen." Unfortunately, he added, this incident sends a "bad message -- don't be a good Samaritan."

Officers responding to the scene had their own excitement in making the arrests. The car thief had to be chased down on foot. With the help of a police dog, police found the driver hiding under a truck.

The badly hurt passenger whom Torgerson had comforted was in stable condition Wednesday at a hospital. Wittenberg said all three people in the first vehicle were "heavily intoxicated" at the time. (info from Minneapolis Star Tribune)

In 911 call, man admitted stabbing girlfriend

An Evansville, Indiana man was held on a $500,000 bond after allegedly stabbing his girlfriend three times — an act to which he calmly admits in a 911 call placed right after the attack. Richard Worley is facing a preliminary charge of attempted murder after he allegedly stabbed Debra Cook twice in the back and once in the chest. The attack came at the end of an argument in their apartment.

Evansville Police Department spokesman Cpl. Steve Green said Cook's injuries are considered life-threatening. According to an affidavit, Cook pleaded with Worley to let her go after the stabbings and then to call 911 for an ambulance, which he did. In a recording of Worley's phone call, he said, "I just stabbed my girlfriend three times." Worley then gave his address and told the dispatcher Cook was having trouble breathing.

Cook told police she fled after an argument, but thinking the fight was over, she went into the kitchen to wash dishes. The affidavit said she was then stabbed in the back a couple of times, which caused her to fall to the ground. The affidavit said she could see Worley standing over her with a knife.

He is accused of then stabbing her once in the chest. Police recovered a bloody knife on the kitchen counter. In the 911 recording, Worley tells dispatchers that is where he placed it after the stabbing. Worley and Cook had reportedly been a couple for three years. (info from Evansville Indiana Courier & Press)

Man killed wife, gave corpse first aid, called 911

According to a Wisconsin sheriff’s department, Carl J. McDaniel shot his wife, then provided first aid for her wound and then called 911. McDaniel was charged with first-degree intentional homicide in the death of his wife September 24 in their home. He faces life in prison if convicted.

Detective Margaret Herrmann said McDaniel acknowledge shooting his wife with a shotgun. "He said he loaded it six days prior."

McDaniel allegedly told Herrmann his wife was seated on the couch eating dinner and the gun was leaning on the fireplace. He said he picked up the shotgun and carried it back to the couch as he wanted his wife to look at the sight on the gun, but she wanted to finish eating and the two argued about that. (info from the Waukesha County Freeman)

Man arrested after rolling van and calling 911

Garth Pratt, in rural Saskatchewan, Canada, crashed his van on January 16 and got lost. He has been charged by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police with breach of probation, impaired driving, driving while disqualified, using an imitation gun while uttering a threat to kill, possession of an imitation weapon, and uttering a threat to kill.

The RCMP were called to a house after midnight on Jan. 16, responding to a report of a fight taking place. Pratt had left the residence earlier, while not wearing shoes, socks or a shirt.

About 9 miles from home, Pratt's van rolled and he called 911 and a dispatcher stayed in contact with him for nearly four hours while emergency crews searched for him. Using cellular phone towers to help triangulate his location, he was eventually found and taken to a hospital with frostbitten feet.

Pratt has been released from the hospital and is due in court. (info from Saskatoon Star Phoenix)

Wacky wife arrested after husband called 911

A Mendon, Mass. woman was arrested early Sunday when police arrived at her home just in time to see her screaming at her soon-to-be ex-husband and chasing him around a car.

Police went there after a call to 911 about a family problem. When Officer William Vargas arrived, he saw Nancy Gird chasing her husband.

"The officer got out of his cruiser and she said 'Take me away,' " police spokesman Lt. Paul Shastany said. "The officer asked what was going on, and she said, 'Arrest me. Take me away.' "

The man said he called police because of Gird's uncontrollable behavior. While he tried to talk to the police, Gird continued yelling at him, saying "I hate you."

Vargas tried to separate the two, and ordered Gird to stay near his car while the officer spoke to her husband. But, after a few seconds, she rushed by the officer and went after her husband again. Vargas handcuffed Gird and put her in his car, then spoke to her husband.

The husband said he and Gird were separated and he lived with his parents. On Friday, Gird served him with divorce papers, but they went out together to a party Saturday night and had a good time. After the party, the pair went their own ways without any argument. But a few minutes later, Gird came to the door and the husband's mother let her in.

"He said Nancy came to his room, yelling, waking him up and knocking things down," said Shastany. "He asked her to leave, and she refused, so he called police." Gird was arrested and charged with disorderly conduct.

"She said, the only reason she was being arrested was because the officer was a man and he was siding with another man," the lieutenant said. Gird pleaded not guilty and was released without bail. (info from MetroWest Daily News)

911 callers reported weird belly dancer on road

On Monday afternoon, commuters spotted a woman in a belly dancing costume performing on Interstate 880 in San Leandro, California, and called 911.

The first call described a woman belly dancing along the right side of the road at 3:07 p.m. A minute later, drivers reported that she was using a light pole as a dancing prop and then a highway sign for a pole dance.

It wasn't until she ran across the interstate that things got nasty, CHP officer Oscar Johnson said. The woman in a black halter top began screaming obscenities at drivers who nearly hit her as she dangerously shimmied across the highway, he said.

By the time officers arrived at the scene, the woman had ducked into the brush near a homeless encampment and run away, Johnson said. (info from San Jose Mercury News)

UPDATE: Drunk 911 caller complains
about self-incriminated ticket

A rural Wisconsin woman says she has remorse about her drunken driving incident (see below), but she doesn't think she deserved a $740 ticket.

Pat Dykstra called 911 after her boyfriend, riding with her, told her she was too drunk to be driving. She relayed that message to the 911 operator. Dodge County Sheriff Todd Nehls says officers used a reverse 911 process to locate her home. When they got there, she had made it home and was getting ready for bed.

She said she was surprised a Breathalyzer test put her blood-alcohol level at almost twice the legal limit, and that she's sorry, especially because her 23-year-old son died in a drunken driving crash three years ago.

But she still thinks it's unfair to get a ticket because she was able to drive home without crashing, even though she drank six beers and her alcohol level was so high. (info from WITI TV)

Fake 911 call caused cop crash

Authorities in Wilmington, Delaware are trying to figure out who made a fake 911 call that led a police officer to get into a car accident. Last week, a man called 911 claiming that his children were stuck inside a burning building.

Emergency crews rushed to the reported location only to find out there was no fire. On the way to the scene, a police officer crashed his car. He was not seriously hurt. Emergency response teams have to treat every 911 call as legitimate.

"Late at night when people are out partying we tend to get a lot of false alarms, and with the amount of drunk drivers on the roads it can put us in even more danger," said Capt. Mark Williamson. It is a crime to make a fake 911 call. (photo and info from WECT TV)

False 911 call ended in drug arrest

Police in Shreveport, LA, broke down the door to a home after a call to 911 that someone had been shot.

When police arrived, they found no one had actually been shot, but the man who called 911 was actually having an adverse reaction to illegal drugs he had injested. He had his girlfriend hide under a blanket while he ran out of the house to call police. The man was taken into custody and charged with possession with the intent to distribute marijuana. His girlfriend was charged with possession of marijuana. (info from KSLA TV)

911 hang-up led to pot bust

A series of bizarre events unfolded for Hyde Park Police Department in New York's mid Hudson River Valley after they responded to a 911 hang-up call Friday evening.

Upon arriving at a residence, three officers witnessed Mark Smith standing in his driveway where he was bleeding profusely from his back, after having been apparently stabbed with a pair of scissors by Lisa Dohany.

Smith was immediately secured in a squad car for his protection. Other officers detained Dohany and searched Smith's residence to locate the scissors.

"Upon entering the house the officers noticed a pungent smell of marijuana," said a police officer during a press conference. "At that point we contacted the Dutchess County Sheriff's Office and the Dutchess County Drug Task Force, who were both instrumental in helping our officers procure a search warrant." Later, officers found three pounds of marijuana in a closet, estimated to be worth up to $5,000 on the street.

Smith, the victim of the assault, was immediately arrested on felony charges of drug possession. Dohany was arrested and charged with assault in the second degree, a class D felony. (info from Hyde Park Townsman)

911 operator found guilty of neglect

In a first-of-its-kind criminal case, a Detroit jury convicted a 911 operator of ignoring an emergency call from a 5-year-old boy seeking help after his mother collapsed.

A jury found Sharon Nichols guilty of willful neglect of duty, a misdemeanor, after a five-day trial and three hours of deliberations. She also faced a criminal charge in the same case that a judge dismissed

Sherrill Turner was dead by the time police arrived Feb. 20, 2006. The case marked the first time nationwide that a 911 operator had been charged with a crime in mishandling a phone call, attorneys and a top 911 official said Friday.

"I hope that it makes every 911 operator in the city and across the country think real hard before dismissing a call as a prank," Wayne County Assistant Prosecutor Lora Weingarden said outside the courtroom. "I'm thrilled with the verdict."

The caller, Robert Turner, now 7, said he also was thrilled. Reached by phone Friday night, he said he would forgive Nichols if she apologized to him. "She was mean to me. She didn't send help," he said. "I would forgive her if she wanted to talk." He said he thinks about his mother every day. "She was the best," Robert said. "I really miss her."

The case stems from an emergency call Robert made after his mother fell unconscious in her Detroit home. Nichols dismissed the call as a prank. Authorities later determined that Sherrill Turner, 46, died of complications from an enlarged heart. The boy called 911 at 5:59 p.m. and told Nichols, "My mom has passed out."

On the 911 audiotape played in court, Nichols is heard threatening the boy, "I'm going to send the police to your house and find out what's going on with you." Asked why she did not request a police car, Nichols testified she believed the call to be a prank and was trying to get Robert to admit it. Robert testified Tuesday that Nichols hung up on him. Nichols testified that the boy hung up on her. (info from Detroit Free Press)