9-1-1 Operator to teen calling in fatal crash – ‘Stop whining’
(NBC Washington) BALTIMORE, Md. – A 911 operator told a teenage girl to “stop whining” just after her father was fatally struck by a car as he tried to change a flat tire along the Baltimore Washington Parkway in Maryland last weekend.
The dispatcher has now been placed “in a position where he won’t have citizen contact” while authorities investigate what happened, an Anne Arundel County fire official said Wednesday.
Rick Warrick, 38, and his fiancee were taking Warrick’s two teenagers to Dave & Buster’s at the Arundel Mills mall Sunday night when their tire went flat on the BW Parkway in Anne Arundel County.
Warrick, a car salesman from D.C., and his fiancee pulled to the shoulder and got out of their 2007 Hyundai Sonata to change the tire. Warrick had gotten the doughnut onto the car and was tightening the lugs around 9:15 pm. when they were both struck by a car that did not stop.
Warrick’s fiancee, 28-year-old Julia Pearce, suffered two broken legs, a broken pelvis and a fractured skull. She tried to encourage Warrick to keep breathing, but he died at the scene.
News4′s Pat Collins obtained the audio from Warrick’s teenage daughter’s call to 911.
“Can y’all please hurry up!” the teen asks.
“Ma’am, stop yelling, I need a location,” the operator said. The girl then tells him they’re situated along I-295.
“OK, 295, that’s good. We’re located now on a highway. Now that’s a pretty long road,” he says.
The teen then says two people were struck.
“Yes, they both…”
“OK, let’s stop whining. OK, let’s stop whining. It’s hard to understand you… two people were struck, correct?” the operator said.
When the teen describes that her father and his fiancee are motionless and lying on the ground, the operator asks to talk to someone else.
“Is there someone else there I can talk to, because it’s so hard…”
The teen then explains the only other conscious person is her young brother.
Russ Davis with the Anne Arundel County Fire Department admitted the operator used a poor choice of words.
“However, what he was attempting to do was to get her attention, to start ascertaining information from her,” Davis said. “It was pretty clear at that point they didn’t know where they were.”
He added the situation could have been handled differently.
“There could be a better choice of words.”
The driver who struck Warrick and his fiancee has not yet come forward.
“It’s hard on me, and I think the right thing will be to do just to turn yourself in. Accidents happen and we understand,” said Warrick’s mother, Scharmaine Ferrell-Anthony. “It was a tragic accident.”
Anyone with information is asked to call 202-610-8737.