Tuesday, May 27, 2008

time out

I need to re-charge my battery. I should be back the first week in June.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Drunk driver called 911 about himself

On May 12, a drunk driver in Seattle called 911 to report himself, telling a dispatcher he didn’t think it was safe for him to drive.

"I just don't know if I'm safe to be driving,” he said. “I'm pretty drunk. I don't feel good." The driver and dispatcher discussed his drunkenness and that he would be arrested, but would ensure the safety of himself and other drivers. The driver pulled into a parking lot and when police arrived, he blew a 0.18 on the breathalyzer -- more than twice the Washington legal limit.

"I completely knew that I shouldn't have been on the road,” the driver said. “I barely even remember driving up until the point. But I just remember thinking in my head, like, wow, I'm completely and utterly unsafe right now. Killing someone else was the last thing I wanted to do. And I just, I think I started feeling really guilty about being on the road, and for whatever reason I called 9-1-1."

The driver now faces DUI charges and says he has learned a lesson.

"You hear it a million times, but drinking and driving, it does not pay off,” he said. “You know, you can do whatever you want with your own life, but if you take someone else's, I feel like you never gonna to forget that. You know, your life will never be the same. Ever." (info from MyFOX9.com)

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Wacko from Waco called 911 for cab 15 times

A man accused of calling 911 in Waco, Texas 15 times in a row because he was tired of waiting for a cab was arrested Tuesday. Each time Kevin Waits called, the dispatcher told him to call a taxi service and that police could not help him, said Waco police officer Steve Anderson.

Police eventually went to his apartment and found a cab waiting for Waits, who was also there but did not have the $26 taxi fee.

Waits was arrested after being taken to the hospital because he told an officer that he had used methamphetamine, Anderson said. Waits remained in custody Tuesday afternoon awaiting bond on charges of harassment and theft of service. (info from Waco Tribune-Herald)

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

911 operator fired for tipping off drug dealer

A 911 dispatcher in Snydersville, Pennsylvania faces possible charges of tampering with an investigation, after allegedly tipping off a suspected drug dealer about a planned undercover buy.

James Kubanik allegedly used a cellphone in March to call the suspect, after he took a phone call from a police officer seeking information about drug dealer Joseph Reina of East Stroudsburg, targeted in an undercover investigation. The suspected dealer is a friend of Kubanik, who apparently did not want him to get in trouble. Kubinak told police he called Reina twice from his cellphone while on duty at the 911 center.

Kubanik is free on his own recognizance, pending arraignment. He was fired from his 911 job. (info from Pocono News & Blue Ridge Communications)

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Man arrested for calling 911 to ask about moon

A Florida man was arrested earlier this month for making false 911 calls three times without any emergency that included questions about moon phases.

He called 911 three times: once to report someone knocking at his door, another time to say he knew where narcotics were being sold, and again to say he “needs the police out here,” according to his Okaloosa County arrest report.

He also called the sheriff’s non-emergency line to see if the person who knocked on his door had been arrested. A deputy who responded to each call eventually met the man. “I asked the defendant if he had an emergency,” Deputy Michael Brake wrote in his report. He “replied he did not have an emergency but did have a question.”

Then the man pointed to the moon and asked, “Is that a half moon?” according to the report. "I asked the defendant if he dialed 911 to ask the question,” Brake said. The man said he did.

He is scheduled to appear in court June 3. (info from Freedom Interactive Newspapers of Florida)

Monday, May 19, 2008

Cops responding to 911 call found bootleg DVDs

Over 40,000 DVDs were seized in a home in Toronto, Canada on May 6th, after receiving a 911 call for an unknown trouble with a woman screaming in the background.

Police found evidence of an extensive DVD piracy operation in the basement bedroom of the house, but found no trace of who made the call.

A bed surrounded by shelves suggests multiple shifts in the production of the DVDs, which would increase the amount of illegal copies produced for sale.

A search warrant was executed and police seized more than $400,000 worth of DVDs along with several DVD burners.

Seized DVDs included films such as Iron Man and movies that have been recently released in theaters, pay-per-view and the open market. Police have not yet made any arrests as they still continue to investigate. (info from The Toronto Evening Star, & National Post)

Thursday, May 15, 2008

County Commissioner called 911 to complain about fire drill traffic jam

A county commissioner in Tennessee apparently broke the law on Saturday when he called 911 to complain about a fire drill that inconvenienced him.

It is against the law to call 911 if it's not an emergency and if the call ties up 911 lines that would otherwise be used to handle life-or-death situations.

On Saturday the Sequatchie County Sheriff's Department held a fire drill inside the jail. They called in all six fire departments that serve the county. The sheriff says there were more than a dozen fire trucks lined up taking part in the exercise.

The controversy arose when County Commissioner Reggie Camp said he couldn't get by all the fire trucks. He said: "this is Reggie Camp. I'm just wondering why they got the dad-blammed road blocked, going up Fredonia Mountain at the jail?"

Sheriff Ronnie Hitchcock explained "Saturday we were doing a state-mandated fire drill of the justice center, this is required by the state to keep our state certification. We found there were a lot of things we need to brush up on, that we didn't do right."

The sheriff said firefighters laid hoses from hydrants and trucks in the street to the buildings' sprinkler system to make sure all systems work. "This is the same kind of response we'd have in a real situation. We weren't playing games. This was the real thing, everybody was serious."

Michael Twitty, director of the Sequatchie County Emergency Communications District, said it's a class-C misdemeanor to make non-emergency calls, like Camp made, to 911, but the district probably won't file charges. (info from ABC TV, Chatanooga, TN)

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Men made false 911 call to save speeding friend

When he heard of a 911 call involving a serious car accident with injuries on May 7, Oklahoma Highway Patrol trooper Darrin Lancaster stopped pursuing a speeder and headed in the opposite direction. Speeds reached 120 mph.

No accident was found, and Lancaster said in court papers that the 911 call was a diversionary tactic to prevent him from catching the motorist he was pursuing. Steven Mathis has been charged with misdemeanor counts of false reporting of a crime, obstructing an officer in the performance of his duties and making a false 911 call.

Lancaster was one of about 18 law and rescue officers to arrive at the scene of the reported accident. No wreck was ever found. Lancaster stopped at a house where he saw several people outside to ask them whether any had seen a car speed by, he said. All of them, including Mathis, denied seeing a car, and Lancaster said he continued his pursuit.

Lancaster said he later talked with Mathis, who said he recognized the car the trooper was chasing.

After Lancaster left, Mathis said a friend, Bo Ginder, told him they needed to prevent the trooper from catching their friend, and Ginder gave him his cellphone, the affidavit said. Mathis said he dialed 911 and reported a head-on crash in Cherokee, Lancaster said in his affidavit. (info from dumbcrooks.com)

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

off-topic medical warning

A Do Not Resuscitate, or DNR, order is a written order from a doctor that resuscitation should not be attempted if a person suffers cardiac or respiratory arrest. Such an order may be instituted on the basis of an advance directive from a person, or from someone entitled to make decisions on their behalf, such as a health care proxy; in some jurisdictions, such orders can also be instituted on the basis of a physician's own initiative, usually when resuscitation would not alter the ultimate outcome of a disease, and is designed to prevent unnecessary suffering.

(Above from Wikipedia)

My wife's cousin Barbara has had a DNR order for years. She thought it made sense. She didn't want to live "like a vegetable."

She was recently hospitalized. Her heart stopped. Her regular doctor was not at the hospital, and no one at the hospital knew that there was a DNR order. She was resuscitated and is doing fine and will be coming home soon.

DNR orders may make sense in some cases, but if it was is followed in this case, Barbara would be dead. If you or a loved one has a DNR order, you should review it.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Wacky boozer mom whose son called 911 about her, pleaded guilty to assault for biting him

I'll be away on Monday, so I'm doing the Monday blog on Saturday.
A Vancouver, Canada mother pleaded guilty to fourth-degree assault Thursday, wrapping up a case that made international news last fall. Paulette L. Spears was arrested Oct. 20 after her eight-year-old son called 911 from her car and asked for help because he was scared by his mother's driving. Spears bit his hand to get him to hang up the phone.

Clark County District Court Judge Vern Schreiber ordered Spears to spend 33 days on a work crew. Schreiber said Spears will have to go through substance abuse treatment, but once Child Protective Services feels she's ready to see her children again he'll lift the no-contact order.

Spears has been under court orders not to see her children — her 5-year-old daughter was in the car, too — and they have been living with grandparents in California. The night her son called 911, deputies from the Clark County Sheriff's Department noted that Spears had "red, watery eyes," a "blank stare" and smelled of alcohol. Spears refused a breath test but admitted to having "some beers."

Spears was given "diversion" on a charge of driving under the influence, meaning if she follows through with treatment and other requirements the charge will be dismissed. Assistant City Attorney Pamela Loh dismissed two counts of reckless endangerment in exchange for Spears' guilty plea. (info from The Columbian)

Friday, May 9, 2008

911 Operator arrested for computer tresspass, alleges relligious discrimination

Nadire Zenelaj, a former 911 operator in Rochester, New York, has been arrested and charged with multiple counts of computer trespass and official misconduct. An investigation was conducted by the city's Office of Public Integrity in cooperation with the Rochester Police Department, the New York State Police and the Monroe County District Attorney's Office.

"We are looking at the many ways in which fraud can take place and taking the necessary steps to protect our citizens," said Mayor Robert J. Duffy. "Unfortunately, there are individuals who think they can take advantage of their positions for unlawful purposes. We must stay ahead of these risks and be diligent in our insistence that city employees, as civil servants, are held to a very high expectation to carry out their duties with integrity."

The charges are based on the allegations that, while employed by the city as a 911 operator, Zenelaj, on multiple occasions, unlawfully accessed highly sensitive and restricted law enforcement and criminal records information for her own purposes and not related to any official business. It is further alleged that she accessed highly sensitive information pertaining to the terrorism watch list and obtained this information for personal reasons.

Zenelaj was terminated from her position in December, 2007.

Zenelaj insists she did nothing wrong and is being singled out because she is Muslim. She says she filed a discrimination lawsuit with the State Department of Human Rights. "I feel they targeted me because of my religion." said Zenelaj, who worked at the 911 center for nearly six years.

Zenelaj said, "I have no criminal history. I have never gone against the law. I totally deny the allegations of computer trespassing and misconduct. Anything that I did at the 911 center was with the training they had given me. I wasn't the only one. Just about everyone in my position has done the same regardless if whether they hit on any information that was sensitive or not. I deny in any way, shape or form that any information was disseminated. Anyone who knows me knows that I'm a straight and legit person. I don't have any terrorist ties." (info from Government Technology, Gannett, and R News. Photo from Gannett)

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Police chief shot himself during gun class

The police chief of Riverdale, Utah who shot himself in the ankle was waving a loaded pistol and being careless, according to two students who were attending his class to qualify for a concealed-weapons permit. "We were told the gun is the chief's personal sidearm, but it looked to me like he didn't know anything about the gun," Lewis Walker said.

Bart Ulm, another student seeking certification to carry a concealed weapon, said he was surprised Chief Dave Hansen was using a loaded gun to show how it worked.

"Right then, I was very leery, because there's no need to have live ammo in a gun in the class. But I figured he's the chief, so he must know what he's doing," Ulm said. Hansen held the Glock 40 under a table to disassemble it when a bullet fired, Walker said. The chief cried, "I'm hit," and fell over. Students who were screaming "Officer down!" were urged to call 911.

The gun went off in a conference room at Riverdale police headquarters.

Hansen was taken to a hospital for surgery and released Monday. A spokesman declined to offer specifics but disputed the accounts of Ulm and Walker, describing the pair as "disgruntled." Other students "did not share that feeling" about the chief. Walker said he didn't have confidence in the investigation.

"I think Riverdale police are just trying to keep this quiet and act like the chief is a hero. But if you ask me, he's really stupid," Walker said. "His state certification to teach concealed-weapons classes should be taken away from him. This was totally gross negligence."

Ulm said there was a moment of levity during the emergency. He said an officer at the scene joked that "instead of shooting himself, he should have used the Taser. (from the Associated Press)

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Couple arrested after argument and false 911 call

In December, 2006, A Florida Keys couple couple both went to jail after a false call to 911 reporting a stolen truck.

Dispatchers received a call from Erica Blankenshipm, who said John Roberts had just stolen her Ford Explorer and was on his way to Marathon Key.

Deputy Juan Martin-Reyes began looking for the truck, spotting it parked at Dion's Quik Mart on Big Coppitt Key. After Roberts left the store and began to drive away, Deputy Martin-Reyes pulled the Explorer over.

The deputy explained to Roberts that he was driving a vehicle that had been reported stolen. Roberts said that he and Blankenship were girlfriend and boyfriend and lived together. He said the vehicle is hers, but they share it. He said they had gotten into an argument earlier because a woman had flirted with him in a bar. He said Blankenship told him she wanted some beer, so he'd gone to the store to get some.

Blankenship was called to the scene. She admitted calling 911 and reporting her vehicle stolen because she was angry at Roberts. She said she did not want to get him in trouble or to press charges against him.

Roberts, who was intoxicated, was charged with driving under the influence of alcohol. Blankenship was charged with misuse of the 911 system and with a misdemeanor warrant for failure to appear in court. They were both booked into the Monroe County Detention Center. (info from the Monroe County Sheriff's Office)

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Teen reported fake school bus flip

A 17-year-old boy has been charged with making up a school bus accident in a call to 911 in Bonnyville, Canada.

At about 4:15 p.m. on April 29, 911 operators received a call about a bus full of children that flipped on a highway north of the city. Paramedics, firefighters and police were called to respond, and the local hospital put its emergency response plan into action.

On arriving at the scene of the supposed crash, emergency personnel couldn't find anything. Several minutes later, another call was made to 911 and operators learned the incident was a hoax. The teenager has been charged with sending a false message and breaching a probation order. He cannot be identified under the Youth Criminal Justice Act. (info from Edmonton Journal)

Monday, May 5, 2008

Firefighter sued 911 caller for injury

Elizabeth Baker, now 84, has moved into an assisted-living facility in Florida, but her son. Steuart Baker continues trying to fend off the lawsuit filed against her mother by a firefighter-emergency medical technician with Lake County Fire Rescue.

Jennifer Roland claims she suffered back and neck injuries when the front left wheel of a fire engine broke through the lid of an old septic tank in front of Elizabeth Baker's house in Mount Dora. The lawsuit seeks unspecified damages of more than $15,000.

Steuart Baker said he's been upset that a paramedic would sue a patient. "Police officers, firemen, paramedics are public servants," he said. "If I call a paramedic and they hurt themselves they'll sue me? That wasn't how public service was intended."

Roland would not comment on the case. But her attorney said that he thought that the paramedic was within her rights to sue.

Baker grew up on the property with his parents and brothers. He said no one knew about the septic tank until a fire engine arriving to take his mother to the hospital broke through the lid during an emergency call in March 2005. The engine had to be pulled out with a tow truck.

After that, Baker said, he filled the tank in with sand himself, and thought the problem was solved. But in her lawsuit, Roland says she was hurt while riding on a fire vehicle that broke through the septic-tank lid on another emergency call two months later.

Steuart Baker is coordinating the family's defense of the suit because his mother is too ill to handle it herself.

Roland's personnel file contains documents pertaining to Roland's multiple periods of medical leave and light duty since the accident. Christopher Patton, a spokesman for Lake County government, said that Roland had received worker's compensation benefits, but would not specify how much, citing privacy laws. Patton said that Roland notified her superiors when she filed the lawsuit, but that they now are looking at the case with more scrutiny. "They didn't actually view the lawsuit. They didn't understand all of the ramifications that were involved," Patton said. "Perhaps we're at fault for not investigating what the intentions were in the suit."

Last October, Casselberry police Sgt. Andrea Eichhorn sued the family of a boy who fell into a swimming pool, suffering severe brain damage, in January 2007. Eichhorn responded to the scene, slipped in a puddle, fell, and broke a kneecap.

Eichhorn dropped the lawsuit less than two weeks after she filed it, in response to complaints and criticism from the public. The Police Department fired her in December after an investigation concluded that she had violated department policies, including damaging the department's image and filing suit without giving the police chief advance written notice.

Patton would not say whether Lake County Fire Rescue would take action against Roland. But he said that the public shouldn't fear calling 911 because of potential legal ramifications. "Any time you call 911, there is an expectation that you should be safe and not in harm's way," he said. (info from Orlando Sentinel)

Friday, May 2, 2008

911 screw-up investigated in death of caller

A college student in Madison, Wisconsin apparently called 911 from her cellphone shortly before she was killed but a dispatcher hung up, failed to call back and never sent police to investigate.

Police Chief Noble Wray said it was too early to know whether a better response could have prevented the April 2 slaying of Brittany Zimmermann or helped police capture her killer. Authorities refused to release the content of the call, but Wray said it should have been enough for the Dane County 911 Center to take it seriously.

"There is evidence contained in the call, which should have resulted in a Madison police officer being dispatched," Wray said. "The 911 center did not call back to the telephone number, Madison police were not notified and no officer was sent."

Zimmermann was found slain in her apartment in an apparently random crime. Police believe someone broke into her apartment before killing her. They have not identified a suspect but have ruled out her fiance, who found her body in the apartment they shared.

Dane County Public Safety Communications Director Joseph Norwick said the dispatcher who received the call from Zimmermann's cellphone inquired several times to determine whether an emergency existed. The dispatcher hung up after receiving no answer and then answered another call. The dispatcher failed to call the number back as required under the department's policy.

Norwick said he was investigating the incident and reviewing whether policies should be changed and employees should be disciplined. He also said, "I don't think there's anything to apologize for at this time." (info from The Associated Press)

Thursday, May 1, 2008

British 911 prank caller gets four years in jail

Britain’s alleged worst prank caller was sentenced in late March to four years in prison after pleading guilty to causing a public nuisance for 40 years of phony calls to emergency services. David Mason was accused of costing taxpayers almost $2 million by plaguing police, fire and ambulance crews with fake emergencies.

He invented brawls, blazes, car accidents, medical emergencies and bomb alerts — for the sole purpose of seeing the flashing lights of emergency vehicles. He admitted to officers that he derived "excitement" from seeing emergency vehicles arrive at the scene.

"Mason has been a menace to both the emergency services and the local community, whose lives he put at risk,” police officer Ian Deary said. "He thought nothing of the consequences of his behavior and the fact that if officers were tied up dealing with his hoax calls that someone could have died."

Ironically, genuine 911 calls to paramedics had to be made to take Mason to the hospital after he had two heart attacks while awaiting his sentence. The judge in Mason's case took special note of this.

"The irony is you are a man with heart disease. If you needed an ambulance when you were dangerously ill and that ambulance is diverted by a hoax call you are the ultimate victim and could pay with your life,” Judge Stephen Everett told Mason. "I accept that you didn't commit these offenses as a joke. You did so because you were socially isolated and felt lonely, but there does seem to be an element of excitement in seeing emergency services responding to calls near your address."

Prosecutors say Mason’s calls, which started in 1968 when he was 17, took a variety of forms. Some claimed people were fighting in the street or were trapped in cars. Calls to ambulance services related to elderly people suffering chest pains or falling and being injured. In one incident police officers forced their way into a house, thinking a person was having a heart attack, only to find the homeowner knew nothing about the call. (info from the Daily Mail via Fox News)