A woman died of drowning after her car got stuck in the water. She begged the dispatcher for help as the dispatcher mocked her. The call transcript has been released and is going viral. The call went on for 24 minutes where the dispatcher mocked the woman multiple times. The dispatcher had already put in her 2 weeks notice to quit before the call.
Debbie Stevens was out delivering newspapers when floodwaters swept her car and caused her to be immobile.
The water continued to rise to the point it started filling her car, and she was unable to exit.
Stevens dialed 911 for help, but the dispatcher, Donna Reneau picked up and mocked her in the final moments of her death. Donnae Renaeu is shown below.
Debbie Stevens is shown below:
The Fort Smith Police Department released audio recordings of the call:
Stevens: “Please help me. I don’t wanna die.”
Dispatcher: “You’re not going to die – hold on for a minute.”
Stevens: “Well I need um, I’m scared. I’m sorry.”
Dispatcher: “I understand that you’re scared but there’s nothing I can do sitting in a chair so you’re going to have to hold on and I’m going to send you somebody, OK?”
It’s reported that Stevens was on the phone with dispatch for 24 minutes as water filled her car.
Dispatcher: “You’re not going to die. I don’t know why you’re freaking out. It’s OK. I know the water level is high.”
Stevens: “I’m scared. I’m sorry.”
Dispatcher: “I understand that but you freaking out – doing nothing but losing your oxygen up in there so calm down.”
Stevens: “When are they going to be here?”
Dispatcher: “As soon as they get there.”
Stevens: “I’m scared. I’ve never had anything like this happen to me before.”
Dispatcher: “This will teach you next time don’t drive in the water.”
Stevens: “Couldn’t see it ma’am. I’m sorry or I wouldn’t have.”
Dispatcher: “I don’t see how you didn’t see it. You had to go right over it, so.”
It’s reported that firefighters responded to the scene 12 minutes after Stevens had called, but it took more than 1 hour for them to actually reach her car, and by that time she had died.
Danny Baker, the interim police chief released a statement saying:
“I understand that listening to a person going through the panic that Ms. Stephens was in those final moments of her life, we would all hope that we would get a little bit better response than perhaps she was given. I don’t want us interacting with anyone in that way, whether it’s a life and death situation or not,”
He stated that the dispatcher had turned in her 2 weeks notice before the call was placed, and that call was actually the last call of her final shift.
“I don’t think the dispatcher realized or understood the severity of the situation,”
Baker says he doesn’t believe the dispatcher broke any protocols, laws, or did anything wrong. He says the dispatcher was already quitting so she obviously won’t be fired, but even if she hadn’t been quitting she wouldn’t have been fired in this instance because she technically followed protocol. He said:
“She did nothing criminally wrong. I’m not even going to go so far as saying she violated policy.”
Baker said nevertheless they will be investigating to see if she followed all protocol, or if anything protocol has been broken, but that he doubts it.