******Not for the Faint of Heart******
This next call I will share with you happened within the last year or so. It involves an accident that turned out to be fatal. As you probably are aware, we take car accidents all the time. They are one of the most common types of calls.
However, this call was different for me, and I’ll explain why.
Here it goes…
This took place in October. I remember the weather was enjoyable and warm, but MANY accidents happened that day. For reasons, I don’t understand.
About six hours into my shift, it was around 21:00 (9 pm), and I saw another accident that dropped on my screen. I started reading the call notes: 4 vehicles involved: a semi, a grey SUV, a blue sedan, and a silver sedan. One person isn’t moving in the silver sedan. Fire and EMS are enroute.
I could see many notes being added from different call takers for this particular call. We had a lot of calls coming in on this specific accident. It took a lot of work to keep up with all the notes, but they were consistent with all the information and details. Out of the hundred-plus calls on this accident, Every caller said ONE PERSON WASN’T MOVING. I already had my red flags up, but that was the giant red flag because that note in the call wasn’t changing.
When this call dropped on my screen, multiple officers were going immediately. On their way to the call, I told them what the notes had said and how many callers we were calling on this. Every time they would key up their radio to answer me, I could hear their sirens going in the background. I couldn’t see the accident, nor could the officers at the time, but it read that this was BEYOND a high priority.
The notes eventually stopped, and that usually meant someone had arrived. I could see that fire, and EMS were there. That's when they started adding notes to my call. The notes read: Fire starting to extricate patient out of the silver sedan. EMS is standing by. Seeing those notes, I let the officers know what was happening. That’s when I saw officers there. The officers immediately had me start making notifications to shut down the roads and notify the Sergeants, and they needed more help blocking off traffic.
While all this was happening, other calls were still dropping on my screen. As much as I wanted to focus on this particular call, I couldn’t. I started dispatching the other calls with the officers that I had left. The majority of them were on this accident. Eventually, I had to ask for help from surrounding agencies. It was too busy, and I didn’t have enough officers. On a side note, this happens quite often.
About an hour passed, and I saw that new information was being added to the accident. The notes read: Will be fatal. Working on identification for the deceased.
When this call came in, I knew it had a lot of potential to be bad, but right then and there, it was confirmed.
Not long after that information was added to the call by the officers, I noticed another call taker also started adding information. I had no idea what it was going to say. However, some call in after the fact, saying they witnessed the accident and will provide more information if needed. This is always helpful, but the information being added was utterly different. The notes read: Caller hasn’t heard from his girlfriend. Went out to pick up dinner at Outback Steak House and hasn’t returned home. Girlfriend (can't disclose her name) drives a silver sedan. The caller provided his name, address, and phone number.
Once I saw those notes, I looked up where the caller’s address was on the map. It wasn’t too far away from the accident. However, I thought his girlfriend could be involved, but that doesn’t mean she was the one deceased. She could be trying to find a ride home, or her phone was damaged, and she couldn’t call anyone. I kept trying to see different outcomes and was hoping for the best. After I did my analysis, I immediately had one of the officers give me a call.
The officer called me, and I asked him, “Did you see the most recent information added to the accident?”
He said, “Yes, I did. This might be her, unfortunately.”
I asked, “How? How do you know that?”
He said, “Because Outback Steakhouse bags and food are all over the car.”
My heart sank. It was that ONE detail that was absolutely gut-wrenching.
On another side note, being in this field for over ten years, I have found that the more minor details hit the hardest. One theory I have is that it’s a scenario that is relatable. An average couple is carrying on with their routine, and suddenly their lives are forever changed. It’s my theory, but I’m still trying to figure it out.
I had to stay professional and say, “Okay. Are you going to call him?”
I asked because I CANNOT be the one to make that call. It ALWAYS has to be a police officer.
The officer called me a few hours later, told me he had made the call, and went to the boyfriend's address. He said it was heartbreaking and hard to hold it together and remain professional.
In conclusion, this call was heartbreaking. After all, was said and done, I had to take a little break and walk around. About thirty minutes later, I returned to my channel and continued the rest of my shift.
Thank you all for letting me share!
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