Jinglei Yi, of Little Rock, Arkansas, lost her life in a car accident, while driving her 5-year-old son. The young boy suffered serious injuries, and doctors are fighting to keep him alive.
Yi's death could have been avoided, her family claims, if her 911 call had been put through to proper authorities.
On Monday, January 14, she hit a patch of black ice with her SUV and lost control of the vehicle, driving it into a pond. She called 911 from the car, but it took first responders 43 minutes to get to the scene.
“Yes, I'm falling down in a pond, and the water is in the car right now,” the 911 transcripts read.
She also told the dispatcher that she wasn't able to escape the vehicle, and that the water had reached a level of 2 feet (61 cm) inside it, according to Today's THV.
It seems the 911 operator dispatched an ambulance to the scene, but failed to put through the case to firefighter crews, who would have been able to dislodge the mother and son from the vehicle.
Yi also called her husband that day, surgery tech Dangyong Yang.
“I said ‘Where are you?’ ‘Some water is in the car,’ she says, ‘It is almost to my knees’,” he recalls the conversation.
He drove out to the location in St. Vincent's, Sherwood, arriving as emergency crews were setting up to dive in the pond.
“I didn't see any car over there. I just saw in the water bubbles coming up,” he describes.
Firefighters were alerted by ambulance staff, who checked in for an update on the status of the rescue mission. The Daily Mail reveals that the 911 operator never inputted the case into a computerized system, linking to all emergency operators, instead only called in the ambulance service.
The female operator also hang up on Yi instead of putting her on hold, as she was arranging for her to be helped.
“Proper protocol would be ... we have a one-button transfer switch where you get (the ambulance service) on the line and you remain on the line with them until you're sure that they have handled the call,” city spokesman Laura Martin told reporters.
The city employee was hired in March, and she is currently on leave during an official investigation into the accident.