Accident victim's family sues dispatch

Accident victim's family sues dispatch

There are 48 comments on the Farmington Daily Times story from May 16, 2008, titled Accident victim's family sues dispatch. In it, Farmington Daily Times reports that:

A wrongful death lawsuit was filed against the San Juan Communications Authority this week accusing dispatchers of failing to provide GPS information for emergency responders to locate a crash scene and save a ...

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cheryl

Albuquerque, NM

#1 May 17, 2008
okay this is just another story, of how the justice system turns their head when the public really needs them. now i know if it was one of their own, they would have let out the blood hounds. my heart goes out to the young womans family. we'll be praying for her JUSTICE......
Zombie22

Newark, DE

#2 May 17, 2008
Before everyone rushes to judgement and heads over to the communications center with torches and pitchforks in hand, let us consider what a difficult job dispatching is. Even with the advent of cell phone technology there is no guarantee the tower was even successful in "Pinging" the coordinates of the cell phone. Often times the dispatcher and the call taker are the same person in these situations and some information can get lost in the delivery. It is tragic that someone died in this instance, but the communications centers around the country are never lauded for the amount of times they get calls right, but only put in the public eye during times where calls go wrong. With the amount of calls coming in and the complexity of locating an accident on a rural stretch of road we are lucky that things go right the amount times that they do. I'm sure all the arm chair lawyers and monday morning quarterbacks will have a field day dissecting the limited amount of information given here. I feel terrible for the family but the ridicule directed at these dedicated public servants by people who have no understanding of the job is unwarranted.
granny b

Grand Junction, CO

#3 May 17, 2008
Don't know about the gps system. I would be more concerned with the statement made by Jessica,----
Just pass the bridge and store. She couldn't have given them more help than that. Anyone with half a brain would be able to find them.
They would just have to spread out and look for them.
Zombie22

United States

#4 May 17, 2008
How far is just past? Was she able to see the store and the bridge from her vantage point or was it the last thing she remembers the vehicle passing before the accident. I have not heard the 911 tapes or the radio traffic nor have i read the details of any of the call screens. So i can't make an accurate judgement, and neither can anyone not involved in the response or the investigation in the case. I rue the entire concept of anonymous message boards. Anonymity plus an audience equals idiocy. I doubt the family of the deceased women or any of the personnel from the communications center would like this tragic situation to be open for debate on a newspaper message board. If people feel like they are able to do a better job, they should feel free to apply. I am also aware of the irony of my arguing on a public message board, but i felt compelled to share that 911 operators and dispatchers do a thankless job and deserve to be spared this folly of being tried by the public.
wtf

United States

#5 May 17, 2008
Why does any expect the 911 operator is to be the one to blame, dont get me wrong but its not like the operator told the girl to drive in the first place, thats how they're making it sound. If drivers passing by couldn't see the crash then how could the police or ambulance? This is just another one of those "mistakes" that we all make, its just sad to hear that lives were lost, a BIGGER issue that should be disscused and made a big deal out of is the number of lives lost to idiots who drink and drive, innocent people lose family members everyday to this tragic number one killer, and the murderers get off so easily, think about that
stoptheinsanity

Albuquerque, NM

#6 May 17, 2008
How about the emergency reponders that were looking for her in the general area that she described? Did they ever get out of their vehicles to look for her with a spotlight or flashlight, or did they just do a drive by using only their spotlight from the road? From my understanding she could not be easily seen from the side of the road. It would have required a person to walk and search along the area that she described, which would have required the person looking for her to be out of the vehicle and walking along the bridge shining their flashlight at a broad distance. Point being their could be more fault than just the dispatch center, or maybe no fault at all until the many questions that need to be answered are answered.
Cheeky

Grand Junction, CO

#7 May 17, 2008
One also has to question, was this a seasoned dispatcher, or a rookie in training? As having dispatched myself, and not for very long, it's not a simple job in any aspect of the job. I have been in front of the many screens you look at nightly and it's not as simple as you all seem to think it is. I'm not excusing the dispatcher, not in anyway,as the gps location is there, but only if you look for it.
Until you have been in their shoes, don't pass judgement. I am very sorry for the family that lost their daughter, as stated she gave directions, if the dispatcher would of conveyed the information, it would of helped all emergancy crews to find her, maybe in time, maybe not, no one will ever know.
Wally

United States

#8 May 17, 2008
A lawsuit won't bring those lost lives back... but it may cause rescue workers to make sure of their ability to find & rescue.

One must always stay sharp!!!
Jodgy

Albuquerque, NM

#9 May 17, 2008
Zombie22 wrote:
Before everyone rushes to judgement and heads over to the communications center with torches and pitchforks in hand, let us consider what a difficult job dispatching is. Even with the advent of cell phone technology there is no guarantee the tower was even successful in "Pinging" the coordinates of the cell phone. Often times the dispatcher and the call taker are the same person in these situations and some information can get lost in the delivery. It is tragic that someone died in this instance, but the communications centers around the country are never lauded for the amount of times they get calls right, but only put in the public eye during times where calls go wrong. With the amount of calls coming in and the complexity of locating an accident on a rural stretch of road we are lucky that things go right the amount times that they do. I'm sure all the arm chair lawyers and monday morning quarterbacks will have a field day dissecting the limited amount of information given here. I feel terrible for the family but the ridicule directed at these dedicated public servants by people who have no understanding of the job is unwarranted.
You are absolutely correct, and I applaud you for saying it.

Dispatchers for the Sheriff's Office, not including SP, BPD, FPD, and Fire and Medics, have handled over 16,000 calls for service THIS YEAR.

MOST of the calls go without a hitch. The responding officers usually get excellent information. Dispatchers have to talk to people who are excited, mad, and sometimes hurt. The officer arrives on scene and can take some action: call for help, arrest someone, clear the way for ambulances - all of which is stressful, but the action of actually DOING SOMETHING helps. Dispatchers have to handle the calls, direct the officers and responders, and experience the tension and stress without the release of action.

To all dispatchers, new or experienced, I say thank you for all you do.
87401 Resident

Albuquerque, NM

#10 May 18, 2008
I thought the County had everything under control with the GPS. Theirs nothing wrong with gathering too much data. I see there GPS data collectors crew at Gas station drinking coffee and BSing. Every GPS location should be attached with photos. U know is see this people at every GPS tradeshow, but i don't see nothing coming back to the county. They screw up the rural address system too. I think they need to listen to other people's advice.
WHAT2SAY

Los Alamos, NM

#11 May 18, 2008
87401 Resident wrote:
I thought the County had everything under control with the GPS. Theirs nothing wrong with gathering too much data. I see there GPS data collectors crew at Gas station drinking coffee and BSing. Every GPS location should be attached with photos. U know is see this people at every GPS tradeshow, but i don't see nothing coming back to the county. They screw up the rural address system too. I think they need to listen to other people's advice.
What? Go back to bed and when you wake up, try it again.
Not good

United States

#12 May 19, 2008
granny b wrote:
Don't know about the gps system. I would be more concerned with the statement made by Jessica,----
Just pass the bridge and store. She couldn't have given them more help than that. Anyone with half a brain would be able to find them.
They would just have to spread out and look for them.
That is just one out of many locations that she and another subject in the car gave dispatch. There were numerous police, fire, and EMS personel desperately searching for these people. They were down a steep embankment into some trees and could not be seen from any location from the road.
Dispatch did not cause the wreck and they worked hard to try and help the people too. I am sorry for the families loss but they dont mention that this crash was caused by the driver, not dispatch. Are they suing the insurance company too?
Mark

Lowell, MA

#13 May 19, 2008
The family will lose. The case has already been decided by the US supreme court.
A previous case already established that no citizen can sue any municipal employee or department because they is no "duty to act." The current court make up would probably reverse this decision if the case makes to them. But the lower court have no choicwe but to dismiss the case based on the precident.
Max

United States

#14 May 19, 2008
What a tragic story this is. I wish Miss Eldred's family my best in their time of grief.

The lesson here is simple though. Don't depend soley on 9-1-1 for your safety and well-being in an emergency. Citizens need to count on themselves first for safety and security.

Instead of calling 9-1-1 when a criminal thug threatens your safety and those you love, have them means, the knowledge and the will to protect yourself FIRST and THEN dial 9-1-1.
veteran

Danville, IN

#15 May 19, 2008
Hey Zombie. What do you not understand about 7 calls over a 4 hour period?
You want to defend the nitwits handling the call...but after the third one, the dispatcher/call taker/public leach should have gotten a clue and realized there was a problem and taken additional steps.
You say there was limited information in the story, yet "human error" at the dispatch center was admitted.
The poor, overworked public fool should be prosecuted for negligence, not defended.

Since: Sep 07

Arlington, VA

#16 May 19, 2008
veteran wrote:
Hey Zombie. What do you not understand about 7 calls over a 4 hour period?
You want to defend the nitwits handling the call...but after the third one, the dispatcher/call taker/public leach should have gotten a clue and realized there was a problem and taken additional steps.
You say there was limited information in the story, yet "human error" at the dispatch center was admitted.
The poor, overworked public fool should be prosecuted for negligence, not defended.
I have to agree. I was on the side of the dispatcher until I read your posting: 7 phone calls? No, there is NO FUCKING WAY that they couldn't find this woman within 3 phone calls, unless the people looking for them were criminally negligent or the dispatcher wasn't giving them the right information.
Sica

Albuquerque, NM

#17 May 19, 2008
Leave out the modern technology in this and any well trained dispatcher should know the job inside and out. If the young lady stated the location any dispatcher pro should have picked up on that. There is such a thing as taking notes. So yeah, I agree with the lawsuit! This was a life lost because there was lack of professionalism and communication. There is no need for this...wonder who trained the dispatcher(s) at fault
eya

Farmington, NM

#18 May 20, 2008
I am glad that the family is going to press charges and going to take em to court. I'd do the same thing if i were in that position. My family lives there in Blanco and with all this in mind of what this young lady and her passengers went through and the thought of they could have survived... yeah it really makes me worry now.. and asking myself all the "what if" questions in the world. I will keep the family in my prayers and pray they win this case. Then again all the money in the world cannot bring back their loved ones. They will be greatly missed from a person as the Blanco Community.
Daisy Girl

United States

#19 May 20, 2008
These dispatch people should be held accountable - the crash injured this girl - they were the ones that dealt the blow that killed her. We are all in danger if these are the people that are supposed to help us!
John Q

California City, CA

#20 May 20, 2008
Wow, what a terrible situation to happen to this young lady. This is a young life snuffed out, and the 9-1-1 system dispatchers failed her and her friends.

Does this county have a helicopter with FLIR (Forward looking infared) capabilites within any automatic or mutual aid contract with the surrounding area. Someone must!

This is sickening. I think I will vomit, it is to bad they cap it off on $750,000 , because I would give this young ladies family $50 million dollars.

She called 7 times people. This is where they need to fire and replace all parties involved IMMEDIATELY.

What a letdown. What a terrible tragedy.
God Bless this yound lady, her friends and her family.

Shame! Shame! on the incompetent dispatchers. This is unexcusable, absolutely 100% unexcusable!

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