911 operator suspended over teen’s death griped about working overtime


The Ohio 911 operator suspended from her job after a teen suffocated to death in the back of his minivan griped about working overtime at her job – including as recently as last week, according to a new report.

Amber Smith failed to relay key information about Kyle Plush’s location – including the make, model or color of his minivan — to officers who responded to the scene at Seven Hills School in Cincinnati, WCPO reported.

And a confidential police review found that Smith said she couldn’t hear Plush providing the information that would’ve saved his life, the Cincinnati Enquirer reported Friday.

The 911 system failed due to either a problem with technology, a mistake by the operator, or a combination of the two, the review found.

Meanwhile, Smith’s most recent complaint came last Friday on Facebook, according to the Cincinnati Enquirer, which didn’t provide details of the most recent post.

In May 2017, she also “vented” on the social media site, saying, “I’m always at work and working overtime… all it does [is] makes us hate our job and hate the people that are off for months… Just feel like venting. That’s all. Nothing will change.”

Plush, 16, died Tuesday after becoming trapped by a bench seat in the back of his minivan, which was parked in the school’s parking lot. His cause of death was asphyxia from his chest being compressed.

He first called 911 at around 3:15 p.m. telling the operator, Stephanie Magee, that he was in “desperate need of help.”

He couldn’t hear the dispatcher’s questions and a callback to his phone after it disconnected went straight to voicemail, police said. Police drove through the area searching for anyone in distress but couldn’t find anything out of the ordinary.

The police review found that Magee erred by failing to tell officers that there was banging and screaming in the background of Plush’s call – indicating that the situation was more urgent.

Plush called 911 again around 3:35 p.m., this time giving Smith a description of the vehicle, a gold Honda Odyssey in the parking lot at Seven Hills – information that never made it to the officers at the scene.

“This is not a joke,” the teen told Smith. “I’m almost dead.”

Smith tried to document the call when it came in but her computer screen had frozen, preventing her from entering information immediately, the review found.

“I probably don’t have much time left, so tell my mom I love her if I die,” he added.

The teen’s body was found six hours after he first called 911. It’s unclear whether he could reach his phone but he could be heard screaming “Siri” repeatedly on the 911 calls.

Smith, who’s worked as a 911 operator for four years, was placed on administrative leave pending the investigation into Plush’s death.

The police review included a grading system used for officials involved in an emergency situation. Magee received a 90 percent rating, which is considering acceptable, while Smith received a 60, which is unacceptable.

Police and the city’s 911 service provider found nothing wrong with the phone system, according to the review.



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