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Dispatcher Sent Police to Wrong Location

Associated Press

December 09, 2010

ST. LOUIS (AP) – St. Louis police say a dispatcher mistakenly sent officers to the wrong site of a stranded motorist. But police say the mistake wasn’t to blame for the man’s death.

The victim died early Wednesday while pushing a disabled car on the Chain of Rocks Bridge, which carries Interstate 270 traffic over the Mississippi River. He was struck by a passing tractor-trailer.

Police say reports of the stalled car came in at 4:47 a.m. and a dispatcher mistakenly sent officers to Interstate 70. Five minutes later after more calls police realized the mistake and went to the right location.

The wreck happened at 5 a.m., but a police spokeswoman told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch that the department does not believe the accident could have been prevented.

Copyright 2010 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

  • Me_max50


    over 3 years ago


    We all make mistakes. You can't just put blame for a man's death on the dispatcher. So maybe the dispatcher made a mistake. It happens. Until we listen to the 911 call there is now way to tell. Maybe it was the driver. Maybe he had bad cell phone reception or was out of breath and hard to understand or maybe ther driver gave the wrong road! Dispatching is not an easy job. Give the dispatcher a break. Either doesn't take very much common sense to know that you shouldn't push a dead car over a bridge anytime of the day or night. Even if the dispatcher made a mistake the man's death is still his own fault. The dispatcher didn't tell him to push his dead car over a bridge in the dark early morning hours!

  • Profile1_max50


    over 3 years ago


    No proof to blame the dispatcher even though every call is recorded.
    This sounds like sensationalism to me.

  • Photo_user_blank_big


    over 3 years ago


    Maybe I'm just too dam old for the new police generation, but it seems that many of you want to find fault in a dispatcher, rather than calling it what it is. I hope our new generation of officer's will soon realize that your can't blame stupid on anyone and everyone associated with an incident except for the actual personwho made the decision that caused the incident. Sarge, you should know this above many others.

  • Photo_user_blank_big


    over 3 years ago


    Thanks for the awesome insight "RPD10", but what is your point? Since his name was omitted, I'll refer to the deceased as Mr. repeat-non-thinker". Mr. Repeat-non-thinker made the uneducated decision to push his ailing car across a bridge during early morning hours of darkness. I think it's safe to say Mr. Repeat-non-thinker IS TO BLAME. If he had not done this, I assure you he would be alive. And, what was the rest of your points? Something about "lots of variables". What is that referring to? I only read one variable to this story, that was an ignorant decision. Good Observations though!" I don't know about all the other readers, but I seem to get annoyed when someone's comment turns into an autobiography with a lot of meaningless words. 10-7.

  • My_kids_027_max50


    over 3 years ago


    There are a lot of different variables that could have caused this mistake, but as all of us that have been doing this for a while know most 911 stations are recorded. Review the recording and you will know how clear the caller stated the location and if it was a cell phone call how good the reception was. If there was a mistake by the dispatcher you will know.

  • Police_link_badge_max50


    over 3 years ago


    Preventive maintenance......

  • Photo_user_blank_big


    over 3 years ago


    No one is perfect, hopefully this is not an ongoing problem. It seems as though the timing of the accident could not have been prevented.

  • Streetgang_max50


    over 3 years ago


    I started in dispatch and it happens, rarely but it happens. A lot of variables go into an emergency call. Did the call come from the stranded motorist? Or a passer by? If a passer by, did they know the area? If the motorist, did the dispatch center have GPS capability. If not did the motorist know where they were? I sent an Officer to back up a Trooper to a spot 10 miles from him due to information given by another dispatch center. I've been sent to the wrong address for a domestic in progress, upon arrival found a domestic in progress at the wrong address... that one was weird. There is not enough information in this story to make a call as to if, and who if anyone might be at fault.

  • John_groh_max50


    over 3 years ago


    Bump DD78 Also from the time of the original call to to the time of the accident call is only 3 minutes. Even if the correct location was given it is unlikely that an officer could have responded to the location unless he or she was right on top of it.

  • Photo_user_blank_big


    over 3 years ago

    case in point why the communications officers are so important to police operations as a many more ways than one

  • 4076_1_sbl_max600_max50


    over 3 years ago


    We have a dispatcher that does this about once a month. I hope it doesn't result in a tragedy like this!

  • Sober_kids_max50


    over 3 years ago


    I'd like to hear the emergency call. I've worked the desk on occasion and sometimes, the blame for a "dispatch error" is on the caller.

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