911 dispatcher transferred after telling teen in fatal crash to stop whining

MARYLAND CITY, Md.  — An Anne Arundel County 911 dispatcher who told a frantic teenager who was calling about a car crash that fatally injured her dad to stop whining has been transferred and will have no contact with the public as an emergency responder pending an investigation.

Capt. Russ Davies, a spokesman for the Anne Arundel County fire department, said Wednesday that an internal investigation is underway to examine the dispatcher’s response in this case and with previous calls. The dispatcher — whose name has not been released — has been transferred to another position and whether it’s a permanent or temporary assignment will be determined by the outcome of the investigation, Davies says.

“This call, the way that it was handled, does not meet our expectations of how of 911 calls should be received and we don’t believe it meets the public’s expectations either,” Davies said.

The contents of the recording, obtained by NBC Washington, show an operator with the Anne Arundel County Fire Department Communications Division trying to determine the location of Sunday night’s crash in Maryland City on the Baltimore Washington Parkway.

The girl’s father, 38-year-old Rick Warrick, and his fiancee were hit by a car as they changed a tire on the shoulder. The car that hit them then fled.

Warrick died, and his fiancée was injured.

Davies said the 911 operator made a poor choice of words, but was trying to get information to get help.

All employees in the 911 call center have emergency medical dispatch certifications that train them on how to deal with frazzled callers, calm them down and get information to send the right equipment their way, Davies says.

The dispatcher’s handling of the 911 call from the BW Parkway did not impact the response time. Emergency responders used the GPS in the teen’s cellphone to track them when she wasn’t able to give specifics about their location.

Davies did not have any information about how long the operator had been with the county.

Anne Arundel County Councilman Pete Smith said he hopes lessons can be learned from the incident.

“It is unfortunate that that these remarks were made during this tragic incident.  I hope we all learn from this and realize that it is our job during a crisis to respond and act in an appropriate and sensitive manner even when everything else around us is chaotic,” he said in a statement.

“I have faith in our County Executive and Fire Chief to impose measures that will prevent these types of issues from occurring in the future.”

See a report from NBC4:

U.S. Park Police are still seeking information about the driver. Anyone with information is asked to call 202-610-8737.

WTOP’s Kristi King and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Copyright © 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, written or redistributed.

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