Friday, October 31, 2008

Teen arrested for asking about 911 operators' underwear

A 16-year-old boy in Lancaster, Ohio has been arrested for harassing 911 dispatchers, Fairfield County Sheriff Dave Phalen said.

He said the boy had made several calls asking what color the dispatchers’ underwear is and what time they get off work. Phalen stressed that false 911 calls tie up phone lines and take attention away from real 911 emergencies. (info from Lancaster Eagle-Gazette)

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Man arrested for multiple 911 prank calls

A man from Smyrna, Delaware was arrested by State Police for making several false 911 calls from August 2006 to October 2008.

Police say the case was recently solved after an incident that occurred on Oct. 14 at 1:30 am. In this case, someone called 911 and reported an armed suicidal subject was inside a home. When police arrived to investigate, they learned the home was unoccupied and discovered an empty beer can and backpack on the ground in front of the home next door. This caught the attention of the investigating trooper because police dispatchers informed the trooper the caller sounded intoxicated.

A wallet was found inside the backpack belonging to Damon Bethel. The trooper then saw a suspect through a window, looking at the trooper. The trooper shined his flashlight in that direction and the person ducked away from the window.

The trooper knocked on the door of the home and spoke to Bethel, who appeared intoxicated. Bethel said he was outside around the same time when the 911 call was made. Bethel's parents listened to the 911 call and identified the voice as Damon Bethel.

According to investigators, Bethel was responsible for additional falsely reported incidents:

On Aug. 13, 2006 a 911 call was received with the caller reporting that he had killed his wife and daughter.

On Jan. 22, 2007, a 911 call was received with the caller reporting he was stabbed.

On Jan. 23, 2007, a 911 call was received with the caller reporting a domestic incident occurring at a home.

On Feb. 05, 2007, a 911 call was received with the caller reporting he had ingested pills to commit suicide.

On May 15, 2007, a 911 call was received with the caller reporting shots fired and a burglary in progress at a home.

All of these incidents were investigated and found to have been falsely reported. As a result of these incidents Bethel was arrested and charged with seven misdemeanor counts of falsely reporting an alleged incident. He was released on bond. (info from WBOC-TV)

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

911 screw-up may have caused teen's death

Earlier this month two medical crews were dispatched to respond to a teenager suffering a seizure at an Atlanta high school. Antoine Marc Williams, 16, went into cardiac arrest and later died. One of the crews was ordered to turn back, possibly delaying medical care that might have saved his life.

James Bothwell, executive director of emergency medical services and trauma at Grady Memorial Hospital, said the decision to cancel one responder on Oct. 14 violated protocols for such emergencies. He also said additional medical personnel can help save lives in similar medical emergencies. “It is a big deal,” Bothwell said, concerned that someone in law enforcement turned back an Atlanta fire truck. “Looking back at this, it was not the best decision for the child.”

He said Grady’s own dispatchers immediately sent a two-person ambulance to the school when the first call came in about 3:20PM. A firetruck with medical personnel dispatched by Atlanta 911 at the same time was turned back about seven minutes later, officials said. Bothwell said that was a violation of protocols for such medical emergencies.

The firetruck was ultimately redirected to the school after the teen went into cardiac arrest in the Care ambulance. The firetruck arrived 35 minutes after the initial call for help was received. Williams died hours later.

Bothwell said the order to halt the firetruck paramedics wasted valuable time. The extra crew could have provided vital extra hands, especially when Williams went into cardiac arrest, he said.

Classmates said Williams and another student began play-wrestling in a classroom that afternoon when a teacher briefly left the room. Williams fell, grabbed his arm and shouted “my heart.” A police report said Williams began “shaking out of control,” and Bothwell said a teacher called 911 for help.

The Grady ambulance and the firetruck were dispatched, but for reasons that remain unclear, the 911 operator canceled the call for the firetruck. Bothwell said the 911 operator’s order to turn back the firetruck came as a directive by an unnamed law enforcement figure.

Bothwell said that sending both an ambulance and fire department personnel is a shared protocol in such high-priority medical emergencies as Williams’. His ambulance crew, which arrived at the school at 3:29PM, spotted a firetruck on the school grounds before they went up into the classroom, but that fire crew never made it up to the classroom. It was at 3:29PM that the 911 dispatcher canceled the call to the fire crew.

As many as five medical personnel are needed to properly care for a cardiac patient —- one to supervise and others to administer chest compressions, insert a breathing tube, breathe air into the patient’s mouth and to administer medications.

When Williams went into cardiac arrest, the crew alerted dispatchers. Once again, 911 dispatched a fire crew. That crew arrived three minutes later. It was the fire crew that inserted a breathing tube down Williams’ throat, he said.

Bothwell said he could not say whether the fire personnel being there throughout the incident would have saved Williams’ life —- but mere minutes can make a big difference in saving the life of a person in cardiac arrest. (info from The Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Neighbor drove shooting victim to hospital
when 911 call wasn't answered

Some residents of DeKalb County, Georgia are demanding answers about an unanswered 911 call last week after a man was shot.

Jose Lopez had stopped to get his mail when two men robbed him and shot him in the chest. Neighbors rushed to help. Several people called 911, but they said they got no answer. Several minutes later, one call was answered.

Rather than wait for police and an ambulance, neighbor Adib Hassen drove Lopez to a hospital. Lopez is in stable condition.

Lopez' wife rode in the car with her husband and Hassen to the hospital. Still not getting through to 911, Lopez' wife called her co-workers at the Doraville Police Department.

Now, Police Chief John King wants to know what went wrong. He's asked DeKalb County for details about what happened on their end.

Dekalb police spokeswoman Mekka Parrish said, "There were no issues with our 911 center. The two calls we did receive had to be transferred into our 911 center. We can't dispute other calls because another agency could have received them."

Specifically, Parrish said that at 12:07AM, DeKalb received a 911 call transferred from Doraville. After waiting on hold a little over one minute, the caller hung up. At 12:11AM, another 911 call was transferred from Doraville. At 12:16AM, Parrish said, the dispatcher sent help. At 12:21AM, police arrived at scene, but by that time, Lopez was gone. Parrish said the department will review the matter. (info from WGCL TV)

Monday, October 27, 2008

McCain's wacky brother called 911 to complain about traffic

Republican presidential candidate John McCain’s brother, Joe McCain, called 911 in Alexandria, Virginia last week to complain about traffic. And when he was told that 911 was only for emergencies, he swore at the operator and hung up.

Here's part of the transcript:

Operator: Alexandria 911, state your emergency

Caller: Well, it's not an emergency but do you know why on one side at the damn drawbridge of 95 traffic is stopped for 15 minutes and yet traffic's coming the other way across the drawbridge?

Operator: Sir, are you calling 911 to complain about traffic? (pause)

Caller: "[Expletive]" (caller hangs up)

The operator called the caller back and received this message: "Hi this is Joe McCain I can't take this message now because I'm involved in a very (inaudible) important political project... I hope on Nov. 4th we have elected John."

The operator then called the number back and left a message for Joe about how it is illegal to use a 911 number for anything other than emergencies.

Here's the best part: An outraged Joe called the operator back to complain about being read the riot act about calling 911 and got read the riot act again.

McCain later apologized and announced he was dropping out of his brother's campaign. He also said he thought his phone was muted when he swore at the 911 operator. He previously said that that Democratic-leaning Alexandria and Arlington, Virginia are "Communist country."(info from The Los Angeles Times)

Friday, October 24, 2008

Man jailed for 22 phony 911 calls

Christopher Gonzales of Jacksonville, Florida was recently arrested after he placed nearly two dozen fake calls to 911, prompting emergency responders to rush to a neighbor's home. Each time officers learned the stories were false.

Officers rushed to Jodi Harris' home repeatedly, responding to what they thought were serious crimes. However, Harris said she and her family were surprised when the officers arrived at their door.

"(He said) I was being beat, I was being stabbed to death, my husband killed his family and me," Harris said. "Every two days they would call."

At first, she thought the police visits were a mistake, but she soon realized it was a prank. "I would actually expect them. After a while, after it kept on happening I'd just expect them to come," Harris said. On one occasion, Harris said police were called to her home because they were told an officer had been shot and the body was in her car.

Not only did police respond each time 911 was called, but they also searched Harris' car and inside her home. "They're like, 'We need to check your house. We need to check your house,' and I'd be like why, and they said because someone said there was a body in here bleeding to death," Harris said.

She said the caller tortured her family and that her kids are now afraid of the police. Harris said for months she wondered who was behind the phony calls, until police let her hear the 911 calls. "I heard his voice and I was so stunned I was like that's my next-door neighbor," Harris said.

Gonzales is charged with making false 911 calls. According to the police report, officers were called to Harris' more than 22 times. Harris said she thinks Gonzalez was infatuated with her. She said the situation was a nightmare, and now with Gonzalez locked up, she hopes she won't see police at her door ever again.

"I hope he gets some help, I really do because I think something is wrong with him," Harris said. "He does need to be charged for it because, I mean, it's taking a toll on my family and my kids, really."

Harris said the reason officers had trouble tracking down the origin of the 911 calls was because Gonzales was using a cellphone that was no longer in service but could still call 911. (info from

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Woman convicted for 10,000 phony 911 calls

A woman in Montreal, Canada who made 10,000 calls to 911 over a 15-month span because of her spite for police has been found guilty of public mischief. Marie-Eve Dean was convicted Tuesday as a judge refused a joint recommendation by the prosecution and defense that she get a suspended sentence to be served in the community.

Quebec court Judge Serge Boisvert said Dean is immature, irresponsible, has done nothing to correct her behavior and is a high risk to reoffend. He wants Dean to get psychiatric help before he sentences her on Dec. 17.

Between January, 2006, and April, 2007, Dean and an accomplice overwhelmed 911 operators and some days clogged the system so real emergency calls couldn't get through. Dean, accompanied by her mother and sister, gave television cameras the finger as she left the courthouse. (info from

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Cop killed gunman after friend called 911 to report he was nuts

In Spring Hill, Florida, two men watched their friend Luis Guillen ride away on his bicycle, a gun in his hand and a lot on his mind. Unsure of how to handle the increasingly erratic Guillen, the men called 911.

Guillen seemed headed for trouble: he had pulled a gun on Joel Dulje, fired a bullet at the ground, smacked Mike Galdorisi across the face with the weapon and then fled into the darkness, his friends said. "He just snapped," Dulje said. "We didn't know what else to do."

A few minutes later, Dulje and Galdorisi heard gunshots several blocks away. They immediately knew their troubled friend had met a tragic end.

Guillen was shot and killed by Hernando County sheriff's deputy Lance Origon early Tuesday. Responding to a 911 call about 2:40AM, Origon and another deputy saw a man riding a bicycle who matched the description given by Dulje and Galdorisi.

Guillen refused orders from the two deputies to stop, then turned around and put his hand toward his waistband. Origon then fired a single shot at Guillen, who died at the scene.

Back at the scene of what the Sheriff's Office called a home invasion, Dulje said Guillen was a friend and former co-worker who had come over Monday night to talk about problems he was having with his roommates. Dulje said he invited Guillen to go out with him and his girlfriend, hoping his friend would relax after a few beers. Instead, Dulje said, the situation worsened.

"I think everything was just getting to him," Dulje said. "I know he was struggling really badly. Something was wrong with him. He was totally out of character." After going to a couple of nearby bars, Dulje said Guillen became increasingly despondent and erratic. Dulje confronted Guillen on his lawn and told him he would have to leave his home. That's when Guillen pulled out a handgun from a knapsack on his bicycle.

Another friend, Galdorisi, said he came from inside Dulje's home to break up the argument. Galdorisi stepped in front of the gun and dared Guillen to shoot him. Guillen then fired the gun at the ground, hit Galdorisi across the face with the weapon and took off on his bike. Dulje called 911.

"I had no idea that he had a pistol," Dulje said. "Every man has his breaking point, Joel," Galdorisi said.

State records show Guillen had several brushes with the law throughout the Tampa Bay area. He has been arrested at least seven times, including charges of domestic battery and criminal mischief. At the time of his death, Guillen was serving a two-year probation from Hillsborough County for carrying a concealed firearm. (info from Tampa Bay Online)

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Student jailed for bogus 911 call

A high school student is in the Westchester County, New York jail where he's being held in lieu of $5,000 bail. He's charged with making a bogus 911 call last week, reporting a shooting in which the school resource officer had been hit.

The call that Dante Lawrence allegedly made from a classmate's cellphone Friday morning resulted in a lockdown of the Walter Panas High School in Cortlandt as more than a dozen state troopers and county police officers raced there, believing there was a shooting and that Trooper Philip Russo, the school resource officer, had been hit.

It didn't take police long to determine that the call was a prank when the student whose phone Lawrence allegedly used to make the call immediately came forward.

Police charged Lawrence with third-degree falsely reporting an incident, a misdemeanor. James VanDevelde, spokesman for the Lakeland school district declined to comment on what in-school punishment Lawrence could face. "It's not something we can discuss, because he has rights," he said. "But anything that would happen (in school) would take place after the courts handled the case." (info from The Journal-News)

Monday, October 20, 2008

Cops tasered cable guy while calling 911

Frank Wozniak says he was just doing his job when he was attacked. While upgrading service for Cox Cable customers at 4:30AM in Litchfield Park, Arizona on September 10th, He was approached by a man and woman who said they were cops.

Wozniak says they were screaming and yelling, ordering him to the ground. He called 911 and that's when he says he was tasered. The 911 recording has the confrontation including Wozniak’s screams as he was tasered. The off-duty officers are heard on the tape yelling at Wozniak to roll over while he is demanding to see police identification. Wozniak is also heard saying he works for a cable television provider.

The Maricopa County Sheriff's Office is investigating the incident that involved off-duty officers Cam Siewert and Delores Baumann. The report says Siewert was concerned about copper thefts. No charges have been filed in this case.

Cox officials said that Wozniak was scheduled to work in that area at that early time and had plenty of items with him that identified him as a utility worker, including a spotlight on his helmet, an orange shirt and orange cones. Officer Siewert says he never saw anything indicating Wozniak was a cable employee. As a contract worker, Wozniak’s red Dodge truck had no company markings on it.

Wozniak says his injuries led him to take time off from work. He has hired an attorney and says he'll seek damages. (info from KPNX TV)

Friday, October 17, 2008

Widow suing 911 over husband's murder

On October 13, 2006, Raymond S. Brown II of Prince George County, Maryland was awakened the middle of the night by the sound of a car alarm and saw someone hauling away his car on a flatbed truck. He called 911 to report the theft. The dispatcher questioned him about whether the car was being repossessed and told Brown he needed to verify that with the tow truck driver.

Brown, a record producer known as Scottie Beats, got into a second car to find out. He was shot to death as he approached the truck, which had stopped. The flatbed had been stolen and was being used by car thieves.

Brown’s widow filed a $5 million lawsuit against Vernon Herron, director of the County Office of Homeland Security, which oversees the 911 call center, for putting her husband in harm’s way.

Danielle Brown’s attorney, Gregory Lattimer, said it was the call center’s practice to screen car theft calls associated with tow trucks coming from predominantly black communities to determine the probability of a car being repossessed. “Instead of responding to a car theft call, they got into a query about whether the man had paid his car loan?” Lattimer said. “You have to ask yourself, ‘What is going on with the world?’ This is something that could have been easily prevented.”

Following Brown’s death, Herron’s office investigated the response and said in a news release that “the call was not handled properly.” As a result of the investigation, two 911 call takers were suspended for four days without pay and one received a written reprimand. County officials also approved a change to the existing law requiring tow truck operators to contact police prior to repossessing a vehicle.

Beyond the civil suit, police have made two arrests in Brown’s death. Neiman Marcus Edmonds was charged in April 2007 with first-degree murder, robbery and carjacking. He pleaded guilty to felony robbery and is awaiting sentencing.

On Jan. 30, police arrested Jamaal Garvin Alexis, believed to be the trigger man. Prosecutors charged him with first-degree murder, armed carjacking and other charges, and are seeking a sentence of life without the possibility of parole. Alexis’ court date was postponed after a key witness for the prosecution was gunned down. (info from Maryland Daily Record)

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Man jailed for trying to use 911 to call FBI

Kenneth Borders of Tampa Florida wanted to talk to the FBI on Tuesday night, so he called 911. However, the FBI can't be reached by calling 911.

Borders was told not to call 911 again unless there was an emergency. Borders called 911 two more times. After the third time, deputies went to his home and asked him to stop making calls. Borders voluntarily broke his phone, and then called again on a different phone.

After the fourth 911 call, deputies arrested him.

He was charged with making false 911 calls and was held in jail with bail set at $500. (info from Tampa Bay Online)

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Alaskan 911 totally screwed up

For the past two years the Regulatory Commission of Alaska has been tackling a tough issue: how to make Enhanced 911 work throughout the state.

But the Commission has been told it didn't have the authority to adopt the regulations to make the program work.

The Department of Law said it doesn't appear the Commission has the authority, even though the State Legislature had asked the Commission to come up with appropriate standards for the telephone systems.

In late September, the Commission decided to pursue a legislative solution to allow the commission's regulations to stand. "Because it involves hardware manufacturers and local governments, how the telephone systems interact with local governments' E-911 systems, it's a very technical process," Commissioner Mark Johnson said. The Commission is awaiting a Department of Law recommendation on how to pursue the issue. (info from

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Ohio 911 supervisor suspended, new director quits

Communication supervisor Cathy Jenkins at Delaware County, Ohio's 911 center has been placed on leave amid an investigation by the sheriff's office for an unspecified amount of time after meeting in executive session.

"The investigation was initiated after my office received information regarding possible improper activity at the 911 center," Sheriff Walter Davis said. "We have documentation that this involves more than one person and could lead to charges for several people."

Jenkins began work for the county as a telecommunications operator in 1997 and was promoted in 2002 to her supervisory role. Jenkins has been disciplined twice during the past two years for misconduct at work. In March 2007, she was suspended for 10 days for asking a subordinate employee to run her personal errands during work hours, for borrowing money from her employees and for threatening to retaliate against those who reported the incidents. In February, she was given a verbal warning for using another employee's name to avoid a personal phone call.

Meanwhile, Gary Lyons, the newly hired director of the 911 center abruptly resigned. Lyons cited a lack of cooperation with county Administrator Dave Cannon among his reasons for leaving after less than a month on the job. (info from The Columbus Dispatch)

Monday, October 13, 2008

Not wacky, just nice: 911 call relayed 5,000 miles

When emergency operator Kerry Burrows received a bizarre plea for help, she thought it was a crank call.

After all, the caller had asked her to send an ambulance to a pregnant woman in Nevada in the United States. Burrows, however, works in Cardiff, Wales in the UK -- about 5,000 miles away.

Thankfully, she didn't hang up. On the line was a desperate father-to-be, whose girlfriend was in the US, expecting twins, and needed urgent help after suffering sudden pains.

Operator Burrows said, "I was expecting him to tell me somewhere in Wales -- not the other side of the Atlantic. The dad-to-be is British but his girlfriend is American."

The frantic man explained he had been communicating with his girlfriend via the Internet. "He explained his girlfriend didn't have a phone so she couldn't call 911 for the US emergency services herself," said Burrows. "So he tried to sort it out for her and dialed 999 for our help. When I realized it was an emergency 8,000km away, I thought, 'Oh no, what do we do with this?'

Burrows quickly jumped into action and called an international operator to be put through to a hospital in Nevada. Unfortunately, it was treated as a hoax call. Not giving up, Burrows and her colleagues at the Welsh Ambulance Service went online to search for police stations in Nevada. They eventually got in touch with the New York police department, which put them in touch with the ambulance service in Nevada. Within the hour, paramedics were on their way to rescue the ailing woman. She is recovering in the hospital.

Burrows is pleased she didn't dismiss the emergency call. She said, "We love a challenge and this certainly was one. We are delighted the mum-to-be is well and hope the twins will be healthy and strong. It's not unusual to have calls coming in from mobile phones in remote parts of the UK. But to have a request to help a patient over in America is definitely a first for us. It is a wonderful feeling to be able to help someone who is so far away." (info from The Singapore Press)

Friday, October 10, 2008

Atlanta-area 911 center has too few people and lax supervision

A supervisor told 911 worker JoLynn Griffin she didn’t have any days off left for vacation. The Fulton County, Georgia emergency center had barely enough workers to cover shifts.

But Griffin went on a cruise anyway. She returned to find her job waiting, just as it had been when she’d missed work before.

Chronic absenteeism and tardiness are among the center’s most vexing problems, accounting for roughly a quarter of all personnel infractions and aggravating a staffing shortage that can mean marathon shifts for the dispatchers who do show up.

Griffin is one of scores of Fulton 911 employees who racked up roughly 280 sanctions for arriving late or not at all — often on multiple days — a database of personnel actions since January 2004 reveals. The problem is likely worse; officials say their data is not comprehensive.

No-shows were counseled, warned and occasionally suspended. But they were rarely fired. Some workers accumulated long disciplinary histories that included 911 call errors as well as absences, and they weren’t terminated. “It appears that certain violations of performance were tolerated or forgiven, for lack of a better word, in order to maintain the staffing required to operate the center,” said Lynne Riley, a Fulton commissioner.

Losing trained employees wasn’t an attractive option for the 911 center. In recent weeks, as many as a third of the center’s total positions have sat vacant.

Deputy County Manager Rob Hernandez said staffing shortages are common at 911 centers, but Fulton’s needs to train more new workers and improve retention. A county consultant should address discipline problems such as absenteeism, he said. “In general, discipline was used like a tool — a management tool — rather than as a last resort,” he said. “It may have lost its intended effect.”

At least eight 911 workers have been sanctioned 10 or more times for playing hooky or walking in late since 2004. Migraines, oversleeping and not feeling well were regular excuses. Employees also blamed a pet illness, panic attack, traffic, getting back in town late, driving a child to school, car problems and a broken toilet.

Even current center director Crystal Williams has filed her share of tardy slips, records show, citing late starts, trouble finding parking, feeling ill and, on at least three days, alarm clock malfunctions. Former 911 center employees said chronic tardiness and absenteeism led to feuding among staffers.

Cassandra Eloi said that during her year at the center it was common to be held over for extra work because others failed to show. Those who did come in often worked 12 to 16 hours straight, she said. “You are running a 911 center on minimal staffing every day,” said Eloi, who was fired for being rude to callers. “You have calls holding. You have calls dropping, every day.”

Griffin left without permission for the cruise and two other short vacations between September 2003 and March 2004 — in addition to taking dozens of sick days and showing up late at least 14 times, records show. Alfred “Rocky” Moore, the center’s director at the time, wrote in a March 2004 letter that he was considering dismissing her. “Your personal vacation [cruise] did not justify an emergency vacation,” he wrote.

But Griffin hung on, volunteering for a demotion instead. Her tardiness continued. One night in January 2006, the call center sent a Fulton sheriff’s car to pick her up for work because she had car trouble, records show. Later that year, she was suspended after supervisors said an error she made delayed response to a fire call.

She took disability retirement in mid-2007.

Griffin, a 23-year center veteran who was called “an excellent supervisor” in a 1995 job review, said in an interview she disputes that she caused a delay on the fire call, or that her unpaid leave resulted in a staffing shortage that couldn’t be covered. She said she was singled out for infractions that others — including supervisors — also committed. She felt Moore had a grudge against her. “There was no reason to deny me,” Griffin said of her vacation requests. “It’s not like I didn’t do my share of covering for people, either.”

Other workers also complained discipline was not handed out evenly. Morale was low. After a supervisor threatened one employee with suspension for tardiness, she responded: “go ahead and suspend me that’s one less day that I have to work here.” (info from The Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Burglary victims stabbed burglar and called 911

In late September a Texas couple cried out for help after an armed robber broke into their home. They stabbed the intruder. "I cannot believe this is happening to me," Jill Huddleston cried as she begged a 911 operator for help. "Please hurry. We're all bleeding," she said.

The pleas came as Huddleston's' firefighter husband Ron pinned down the armed robber Heradio Ibarra who got into the family's home near Eagle Mountain Lake through an open door

The 911 call lasted nearly 12 minutes. "We have got the guy down," Huddleston told the operator. "I have stabbed him several times. Hurry up."

"Do you still have the knife in your hand?" the operator asked Huddleston. "Yes, ma'am. I told this son of a bitch, I'll kill him," she told the dispatcher.

Huddleston later told the operator that Ibarra threatened her and her husband with a gun and a metal pipe and demanded money.

As the call went on the operator asked, "You said he beat both of you and your husband with a metal pole?" "Yes, ma'am. My husband's bleeding bad and may have a broken arm. I was hit three or four times in the head with the pipe," Huddleson said.

During the altercation Huddleston somehow managed to get a knife out of the kitchen and stabbed Ibarra. The suspect later informed the couple of some frightening news. "What is he saying?" the operator asked. "He's got AIDS, he just told us. And we're all covered in blood," Huddleson exclaimed.

As she talked to the 911 operator, she asked Ibarra "How did you pick us?" he never answered. Ibarra died as deputies tried to handcuff him. Investigators say he may have been watching the home before the robbery. According to police Ibarra had binoculars and knew that Jill Huddleston's mother was in the home as well.

There are no indications that the Huddlestons will face any criminal charges. (info from

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Man called 911 after murdering his wife

John Sanders of Opelousas, Louisiana called 911 in late September and told police that he had just shot his wife. The two reportedly had been arguing and drinking for quite a while, when Sanders allegedly got up and shot his wife Mary, twice in the chest. She died a short time later. He is being held in jail for murder. (info from KLFY)

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

During 911 call, woman admitted stabbing and learned boyfriend was dead

An Ocala, Florida woman called 911 early Monday to say she had stabbed her boyfriend.

Police and fire officials arrived to find that Shawn Haney had been stabbed repeatedly in the upper torso and pronounced him dead .

The caller, Donna Pickelsimer, was wearing blood-stained clothes and reeked of alcohol. Pickelsimer did not speak with detectives, but she had told the 911 dispatcher that the weapon -- a steak knife -- was on the floor in the residence.

Pickelsimer -- who had lived in the apartment with Haney -- was charged with second-degree murder. A recording of the 911 call includes matter-of-fact responses from Pickelsimer:

"My boyfriend's outside. He's been stabbed, and he's bleeding profusely because he takes Plavix to begin with," she told the dispatcher, referring to an anti-clotting drug used to treat heart disease.

The dispatcher asked: "Ma'am, who stabbed him?"

"I did," Pickelsimer answered.

When asked why she had stabbed Haney, Pickelsimer responded, "Confrontation."

Pickelsimer told the dispatcher he was still bleeding when she went inside to get the phone. But when she returned to his body outside, Pickelsimer exclaimed: "Oh, my God, I think he's dead. There is no pulse, Ma'am. ... There is no pulse. There is no pulse."

It sounded then as if Pickelsimer was becoming increasingly upset, while neighborhood laughter could be heard in the background.

"What's the matter?" the dispatcher asked.

"I don't think he's alive no more," she said. The dispatcher told Pickelsimer to stay on the line while police and emergency medical services personnel were on the way. (info from

Monday, October 6, 2008

Woman called cops to complain about rabbit's ears

A woman in Scotland dialed 999 (the local equialent of 911) because a rabbit she bought through a newspaper ad did not have floppy ears. She did not like its ears that stood up like a German Shepherd dog. (info from USA Today)

Friday, October 3, 2008

Ex-coroner fined for revealing 911 website password

A Pennsylvania judge sentenced a former county coroner to probation for giving newspaper reporters the password to a restricted 911 Website and accused the journalists of violating their professional ethics.

Dr. Gary Kirchner, who left office at the end of last year, pleaded no contest to two misdemeanor counts of obstruction of administration of law. He was sentenced to one year of nonreporting probation and fined $500.

Lancaster County Judge Dennis Reinaker praised Kirchner's career as a surgeon and his community involvement, but reminded him that voters placed their trust in him and said his actions could have jeopardized criminal investigations. "This whole scenario does not represent your finest hour," Reinaker said.

Kirchner was charged in February 2007 following a state investigation that included a search of six computer hard drives in the newsroom of the Lancaster Intelligencer Journal. Five Intelligencer Journal reporters testified before an investigative grand jury after being granted immunity from prosecutors.

The security breach that resulted in the investigation became evident after the newspaper attributed details in an August 2005 story about a woman's death to the Lancaster County-Wide Communications website. That prompted reporters from the competing Lancaster New Era, which like the Intelligencer Journal is owned by Lancaster Newspapers Inc., to inquire about getting the same information. Prosecutors dropped charges of unlawful use of a computer and criminal conspiracy.

Kirchner, who said he is legally blind and has suffered from an acute blood infection, was in a wheelchair and had difficulty hearing and understanding the judge. "I can only say that this has probably been the worst year of my life," he told Reinaker. He expressed relief that "this nightmare issue is coming to an end."

Kirchner's attorney, Kurt Geishauser, said his client does not remember giving his password to any reporters. (info from Lebanon Daily News, photo from the AP)

Thursday, October 2, 2008

911 computer lost important recordings in death case

A computer system that archives 911 calls to police in Hanover New Jersey has failed numerous times in the past year and did not retain calls made the night a man suffered a fatal injury while in state police custody in July.

Kenwin Garcia suffered a fatal injury when he arched his back while handcuffed in the back seat of a police car and shattered a window with his head. The two state police troopers who were detaining him on arrest warrants suffered minor injuries.

When an attorney for Garcia's family, Stephen Brown, requested tapes of the 911 calls about a week ago, he was told they were not available because of a technical glitch. "I've seen nothing. I'm stuck in the dark, waiting under the guise of an ongoing investigation," said Brown, who believes motorists passing the roadside struggle may have called police. Hanover's seven-year-old logging recorder has not been working reliably for about a year despite attempts to fix it, said Hanover Police Chief Stephen Gallagher.

About two weeks ago, a new, $2,600 hard drive was installed, but it seems to be incompatible with the system's software, Gallagher said. On Saturday a contractor who was unable to fix the system after multiple attempts over two days shipped the recorder to California for repairs.

Investigators who arrived on July 15 could have listened to the immediate playbacks of the calls, but could not have taken calls from the logging recorder. When police went to get the calls from the recorder on July 15, they realized that it had stopped recording without warning about a week earlier.

Charles Sciarra, the attorney for the troopers, said he did not know that the calls were not archived, and that he did not think it was essential to the case.

Garcia was stopped by police as he walked along a section of the highway in Hanover on July 15 around 6 p.m. and was arrested when officers discovered warrants in his name.

After kicking and breaking a police car window, the two troopers at the scene, Victor Pereira and David Jenkins, moved a struggling Garcia to a second car, both using pepper spray and cuffing his feet, the Attorney General's Office has said. In the second car, he banged his head against the window. Garcia died on July 22 at Morristown Memorial Hospital. (info from

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Woman arrested for 911 abuse after being told not to call 911

Tiffany Tolson had been told to leave Tasha Otero's residence in Tampa, Florida.

When she refused to leave, Otero called police. They told Tolson to gather her belongings. She then called a cousin to pick her up.

Tolson threatened Otero, saying, "I'll see you again," and, "This isn't over." As Tolson loaded her cousin's car, police overheard her telling someone on the phone that she was going to call 911 "to get other cops to come out."

Police told her that if she called 911 for that, she would be arrested. Tolson continued her tirade against police and Otero.

When Officer Julie Moore went inside the residence to speak to Otero again, she got a call from radio dispatch. They had received a 911 call from Tolson, who told the dispatcher she was calling 911 even though Moore told her she would go to jail if she did.

Moore then went outside and arrested Tolson for abuse of the 911 system and she was taken to jail. Bail was set at $500. (info from Tampa Bay Online)