Published: Mon, September 02, 2019
Global News | By Blake Casey

Woman Who Drowned Called 911 for Help, Got Scolded

Woman Who Drowned Called 911 for Help, Got Scolded

Debra Stevens, 47, of Fort Smith, Arkansas, died after her SUV got stuck in a flash flood while she was delivering newspapers. 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".

"Well, um, I'm scared".

"I don't see how you didn't see it".

"Due to high waters, it took more than an hour from Stevens' 911 call for first responders to make direct contact with her", according to CBS 5 News. She wept and asked when help would arrive.

Baker believes that even though the incident is being investigated, Reneau would've likely been able to keep her job. Stevens couldn't describe her exact location. "So, you are going to have to hold on and I'm going to send you somebody. OK?" "Can you please help me?" she said. You freaking out is doing nothing but losing your oxygen in there.

Stevens was delivering newspapers near the 5800 block of Kinkead Avenue when swift waters washed her auto off the roadway, according to Mitchell. It would soon ruin her new phone.

Debbie Stevens spent the last moments of her life on the phone with a 911 dispatcher who did little to calm her fear. "Who cares about your phone?" Stevens was unable to exit her vehicle. She came up on it suddenly. "However, an investigation into our policies, our responses, our dispatch center, I've talked to the fire chief, we are looking at what we can do to increase training for our dispatchers, swift water rescues, and other things". I am horribly sorry that it wasn't potential'. At one point she told Stevens she had put herself in danger. "It's not going to matter".

Stevens can be heard crying on the phone.

Again, she apologized. She didn't mean to rude.

"Couldn't see it ma'am", Stevens said of the water.

She begged for the dispatcher to ship assist and mentioned she was scared. Dispatcher: "I don't see how you didn't see it. You had to go right over it, so?" the dispatcher is heard saying. "The water just didn't appear".

Fifteen minutes into the call, Reneau began taking other calls from stranded residents. Each police officer on obligation is busy on different calls. Later in the call, Reneau struggles to explain to firefighters where to find Stevens.

Dispatcher: "You're not going to die". "Can you honk your horn?"

"My horn is dead", Stevens said. And flooding made a rapid rescue "impossible" when first responders discovered the place she used to be, police stated. "Oh, Lord help me", she cried.

"Oh my God, my vehicle is starting to move", Stevens cried. Hold on for me.

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Stevens screamed. She said couldn't breathe.

She had beforehand been recommended on the police division's Fb web page for being a "skilled, devoted and excellent" dispatcher. "She is legit freaking out". "I don't wanna die".

"Miss Debbie, you're gong to have to shut up. OK".

"Well I need um ..."

"Miss Debbie? Miss Debbie?"

The dispatcher at one point lectured Stevens for driving into the water, which the woman, who had been out delivering the Southwest Times Record, said she hadn't seen before it was too late. Reneau said. "Oh my God".

Reneau told her "to stop..."

A memorial has been set up in remembrance for Stevens. "She loved them all". We want to save lives.

The life Stevens "lived prior to that moment ... had goal", he said.

"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.

Despite the dispatcher's apparently harsh tone in the call, police said in the press release that "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 used her cellular phone to name a circle of relatives member first, then dialed 911 from her auto at four:38 a.m., because the water rose.

Stevens did die, however handiest after the dispatcher instructed the Fort Smith, Arkansas, lady to "shut up", chastised her for being concerned that the telephone name would bring to a halt and berated her for riding into water - water the frantic flood sufferer swore she had now not observed. "All of our first responders who attempted to save Ms. 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", Baker continued. "When we are unsuccessful, it hurts", Baker said. She happened to be working her last shift the morning of the tragedy.

"I don't think the dispatcher realized or understood the severity of the situation", he said.

Baker said Reneau "did nothing criminally wrong".

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