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Thread: Debra Stevens (47) was caught in flooding in her vehicle and drowned, while a 911 dispatcher ridiculed her

  1. #1
    So very tired raisedbywolves's Avatar
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    Debra Stevens (47) was caught in flooding in her vehicle and drowned, while a 911 dispatcher ridiculed her

    https://www.cnn.com/2019/08/31/us/ar...her/index.html

    Debra Stevens was working her normal newspaper delivery route in Fort Smith, Arkansas, when rising flood waters began to overtake her SUV.
    The final, desperate 911 call of the 47-year-old woman who delivered the Southwest Times Record to front doors came at 4:38 on the morning of August 24.

    It was a panicked 22-minute plea for help with a dispatcher that the Fort Smith Police Department admitted sounded "calloused and uncaring at times."
    "I have an emergency -- a severe emergency," Stevens told the female dispatcher. "I can't get out and I'm scared to death, ma'am. Can you please help me?"

    A terrified Stevens told the dispatcher over and over that she was going to die in the rapidly rising water. She wept and asked repeatedly when help would arrive. She didn't know how to swim, she said. She had trouble describing her location. She didn't want to die, she said.

    "You're not going to die," the dispatcher said in audio released by police this week. "I don't know why you're freaking out... You freaking out is doing nothing but losing your oxygen in there. So calm down."

    Stevens said water was pouring into her car. It would soon ruin her new phone.

    "Do you really care about your brand new phone?" the dispatcher asked. "You're over there crying for your life. Who cares about your phone."

    Stevens said she didn't see the water on the road. She came up on it suddenly. She kept apologizing. The water was starting to reach her chest, she said. She could see people in the distance looking at her. They're probably laughing, she said.

    "Ma'am, I'm sorry," Stevens cried.

    Stevens at one point said she needed to vomit.

    "Well, you're in water, you can throw up," the dispatcher said. "It's not going to matter."

    Crying uncontrollably, Stevens asked the dispatcher to pray with her.

    "You go ahead and start off the prayer," the 911 operator said.

    "Please help and get me out of this water, dear Father," Stevens said.

    Again, she apologized for sounding rude. But she was afraid.

    "This will teach you next time don't drive in the water," the dispatcher told her.

    Stevens insisted she didn't see the flood waters. She's worked her paper route 21 years and never experienced anything like this.
    "I don't know how you didn't see it. You had to go right over it. The water just didn't appear."

    About 15 minutes into the call, the dispatcher took other calls. Police said many stranded residents were calling that morning.
    Stevens continued to weep. The dispatcher tried to describe to firefighters the stranded woman's location.

    "I'm on the phone with her," she said. "She's freaking out."

    About 18 minutes into the call, the dispatcher asked a firefighter whether he could see Steven's SUV. "Negative," he said. There was confusion about her location.

    Stevens cried uncontrollably.

    "Miss Debbie you're going to have to shut up," the dispatcher said. "Can you honk your horn?"

    "My horn is dead," Stevens said. "Everything is dead."

    The water was climbing above the door of her SUV, she said. "Oh, lord help me," she cried. The dispatcher said rescuers were looking for her.
    "Oh my god, my car is starting to move," Stevens cried.

    "OK, listen to me, I know," the dispatcher said. "I'm trying to get you help... I know you're scared. Just hold on for me because I've got to take other calls."
    Stevens starting screaming. She said couldn't breathe.

    "I'm on the phone with her right now," the dispatcher said to a rescuer. "She is legit freaking out."

    "I'm going to die," Stevens said.

    "Miss Debbie, you're breathing just fine because you are screaming at me. So calm down. I know you're scared. Hold on for me."
    Stevens is not heard again.

    "Miss Debbie? Miss Debbie?" the dispatcher said. "Oh my God. She sounds like she's under water now."

    The call ended at 5 a.m. ET

    Rescuers reached Stevens' SUV some 58 minutes later. They tried unsuccessfully to revive her.

    Fort Smith police said in a statement that it released the audio recording of the call "with great reluctance" after requests from the media.

    "The recording contains the audio of a dying person's last moments as well as the interaction between her and the 911 operator," the statement said.

    "And while the operator's response to this extremely tense and dynamic event sounds calloused and uncaring at times, sincere efforts were being made to locate and save Mrs. Stevens."

    Stevens' first call during the emergency was to her mother in law, police said. She then dialed 911 from her cell phone.

    Fort Smith fire and police units were inundated with 911 calls from people stranded in flood waters, the statement said. Stevens' difficulty describing her location and flooding limited the ability of first responders to reach her, the statement said.

    "I am heartbroken for this tragic loss of life and my prayers are with Debra's family and friends," Police Chief Danny Baker said in a statement.

    "All of our first responders who attempted to save Mrs. Stevens are distraught over the outcome. For every one of us, saving lives is at the very core of who we are and why we do what we do. When we are unsuccessful, it hurts."

    The Stevens family did not respond to multiple requests by CNN for comment.

    Police spokesman Aric Mitchell said the 911 operator had submitted her two weeks notice on August 9. She happened to be working her last shift the morning of the tragedy.

    "The incident will certainly lead to us looking at policies within our existing Communications Unit but we have not completed a review at this time to make specific determinations," Mitchell said.

  2. #2
    Save Bandit! Angiebla's Avatar
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    First of all, I wonder why they decided to review the transcripts of this particular dispatcher?

    The dispatcher has either been on the job so long that shit doesn’t faze her and she stopped caring, she’s burnt out, or she lacked empathy in the first place. Something has to be wrong with her if she was that heartless.

    I feel so bad for that poor woman that died. She knew it was coming and her last conversation ever was with a lady being shitty to her.

    "The love for all living creatures is the most noble attribute of man" -Charles Darwin

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    Senior Member Pidge's Avatar
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    The dispatcher needs a punch in the face. No excuse. None.

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    Dispatcher needs to go to jail as she could of saved this lady if she made the call a PRIORITY but nope she treated it like a normal call about a mom and daughter fighting what a cunt I?m so mad !

  5. #5
    So very tired raisedbywolves's Avatar
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    Even though this dispatcher has already quit, I feel like she needs to be charged with something because she didn't do her job properly and someone died because of it.

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    Moderator Jumaki15's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by raisedbywolves View Post
    Even though this dispatcher has already quit, I feel like she needs to be charged with something because she didn't do her job properly and someone died because of it.
    Everyone who was supposed to help her failed her. The firefighters took an hour to find her. The dispatcher said a few dickish things, but she was trying to calm the lady down with most of what she said. The lady was screaming and freaking out, so telling her not to do that so she doesn't use up her oxygen seems like an important thing to say.

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    So very tired raisedbywolves's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jumaki15 View Post
    Everyone who was supposed to help her failed her. The firefighters took an hour to find her. The dispatcher said a few dickish things, but she was trying to calm the lady down with most of what she said. The lady was screaming and freaking out, so telling her not to do that so she doesn't use up her oxygen seems like an important thing to say.
    I get that, but she didn't have to say "shut up", and some of the other things she said. Also, she should have stayed on the phone and tried to get more info so they could find her, not try to go to another call. That's the part I have a real problem with.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jumaki15 View Post
    Everyone who was supposed to help her failed her. The firefighters took an hour to find her. The dispatcher said a few dickish things, but she was trying to calm the lady down with most of what she said. The lady was screaming and freaking out, so telling her not to do that so she doesn't use up her oxygen seems like an important thing to say.
    Did you listen to the same recording or read the same transcripts that everyone else did ? The dispatcher was on her last day of work and she was a total coldhearted bitch to someone who knew she was probably going to die . She didn't say a few dickish words she belittled and shamed someone who got caught in a flash flood as the victim was begging for help .

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    Moderator Jumaki15's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by raisedbywolves View Post
    I get that, but she didn't have to say "shut up", and some of the other things she said. Also, she should have stayed on the phone and tried to get more info so they could find her, not try to go to another call. That's the part I have a real problem with.
    That's true. I'm not denying she royally fucked up.

    Quote Originally Posted by AmIAnnoying View Post
    Did you listen to the same recording or read the same transcripts that everyone else did ? The dispatcher was on her last day of work and she was a total coldhearted bitch to someone who knew she was probably going to die . She didn't say a few dickish words she belittled and shamed someone who got caught in a flash flood as the victim was begging for help .
    Nope, I'm illiterate, blind, and deaf. Have also been in a coma since '92.

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    https://5newsonline.com/2019/09/05/w...n-flash-flood/

    FORT SMITH, Ark. (KFSM) — At the end of August dramatic 911 audio of a Fort Smith woman who died in flash flooding was released. Now another woman is coming forward, saying her fate could have been the same.

    Janet Smith says she can't stop thinking about what she calls a near-death experience on August 24, the same day Debbie Stevens died when her car was swept away by flash floods while delivering newspapers.

    The audio from Stevens' call to 911 shocked the community. Former Fort Smith 911 dispatcher Donna Reneau has been criticized for her interactions with Stevens.

    Because Smith was on the phone with dispatch that morning for 25 minutes, around the same time as Stevens, she says help never arrived.

    "Help me!" Smith said to a Fort Smith dispatcher.

    Smith's drive home from work at 5 a.m. that morning ended much differently than expected. Flash floodwaters began to fill her truck on 5th St in Fort Smith.

    "How far away are they?" Smith said.
    "They are leaving the station right now ma'am," an unidentified 911 dispatcher said.
    From the start of the call, Smith believed first responders were just minutes away. Knowing she couldn't swim, Smith just held on.

    "I'm trying to hang on, but the whole cab of the truck is full of water...it's all the way up over the steering wheel," said Smith.

    Smith says it's a moment she will never forget.

    "It's going to be there. It's going to be there for the rest of my life. But I was lucky enough to come out of it," Smith told 5NEWS.

    At one point during the 911 call, Smith says she can hear sirens in the distance, but the sound faded. The dispatcher promised help was on the way dozens of times.

    "How many times have you said that?" Smith said.
    "We are getting somebody to you, you need to quit being so pessimistic and be optimistic," the dispatcher said.
    As the minutes ticked by Smith says her time on the phone was wasted and she wished she had called her kids to say goodbye.

    "It's knowing that you are all alone and the only person you have to hold onto is offering to hang up on you," Smith told 5NEWS.

    "Okay do you want me to just hang up the phone and just leave you there...or do you want me to stay on the phone and try to get somebody to you?" the dispatcher said.
    "I want you to talk me through this slow death that I am about to go through," Smith said.
    "Ma'am everything is going to be okay," the dispatcher said.
    Ultimately, Smith made it home that morning, but she knows Debbie Stevens did not.

    " I want to do this for her because I know how raw emotion is when you are in that situation," Smith said to 5NEWS.

    She believes she was misled by the dispatcher and given false hope.

    "It seemed like no one was prepared, and I feel like you should always be prepared."

    Smith knows she never wants to be in a situation like this again, and says she's lucky to be alive. "I was blessed with another opportunity and another lease on life, and I'm going to take it."

    Smith hung up on 911 after 25 minutes to scream for help from someone passing by. That man flagged down firefighters in the area to rescue her.

    5NEWS reached out to the Fort Smith Police Department for comment on this story and to verify the name of the dispatcher who handled Smith's call. They have not replied yet to confirm the identity of the dispatcher.

    The dispatcher that handled Smith's call was not Donna Renau, but Renau was responsible for training other dispatchers.

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    Moderator Jumaki15's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by up2trouble View Post
    https://5newsonline.com/2019/09/05/w...n-flash-flood/

    FORT SMITH, Ark. (KFSM) — At the end of August dramatic 911 audio of a Fort Smith woman who died in flash flooding was released. Now another woman is coming forward, saying her fate could have been the same.

    Janet Smith says she can't stop thinking about what she calls a near-death experience on August 24, the same day Debbie Stevens died when her car was swept away by flash floods while delivering newspapers.

    The audio from Stevens' call to 911 shocked the community. Former Fort Smith 911 dispatcher Donna Reneau has been criticized for her interactions with Stevens.

    Because Smith was on the phone with dispatch that morning for 25 minutes, around the same time as Stevens, she says help never arrived.

    "Help me!" Smith said to a Fort Smith dispatcher.

    Smith's drive home from work at 5 a.m. that morning ended much differently than expected. Flash floodwaters began to fill her truck on 5th St in Fort Smith.

    "How far away are they?" Smith said.
    "They are leaving the station right now ma'am," an unidentified 911 dispatcher said.
    From the start of the call, Smith believed first responders were just minutes away. Knowing she couldn't swim, Smith just held on.

    "I'm trying to hang on, but the whole cab of the truck is full of water...it's all the way up over the steering wheel," said Smith.

    Smith says it's a moment she will never forget.

    "It's going to be there. It's going to be there for the rest of my life. But I was lucky enough to come out of it," Smith told 5NEWS.

    At one point during the 911 call, Smith says she can hear sirens in the distance, but the sound faded. The dispatcher promised help was on the way dozens of times.

    "How many times have you said that?" Smith said.
    "We are getting somebody to you, you need to quit being so pessimistic and be optimistic," the dispatcher said.
    As the minutes ticked by Smith says her time on the phone was wasted and she wished she had called her kids to say goodbye.

    "It's knowing that you are all alone and the only person you have to hold onto is offering to hang up on you," Smith told 5NEWS.

    "Okay do you want me to just hang up the phone and just leave you there...or do you want me to stay on the phone and try to get somebody to you?" the dispatcher said.
    "I want you to talk me through this slow death that I am about to go through," Smith said.
    "Ma'am everything is going to be okay," the dispatcher said.
    Ultimately, Smith made it home that morning, but she knows Debbie Stevens did not.

    " I want to do this for her because I know how raw emotion is when you are in that situation," Smith said to 5NEWS.

    She believes she was misled by the dispatcher and given false hope.

    "It seemed like no one was prepared, and I feel like you should always be prepared."

    Smith knows she never wants to be in a situation like this again, and says she's lucky to be alive. "I was blessed with another opportunity and another lease on life, and I'm going to take it."

    Smith hung up on 911 after 25 minutes to scream for help from someone passing by. That man flagged down firefighters in the area to rescue her.

    5NEWS reached out to the Fort Smith Police Department for comment on this story and to verify the name of the dispatcher who handled Smith's call. They have not replied yet to confirm the identity of the dispatcher.

    The dispatcher that handled Smith's call was not Donna Renau, but Renau was responsible for training other dispatchers.
    Ok now. Fuck all those people.

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