Cincinnati Officials Release Details Surrounding Kyle Plush's Death: 'We Must Do Better'
Kyle Plush died in a freak accident after becoming pinned by a minivan seat.
Cincinnati Mayor John Cranley said Monday that the city "failed" in its response to a 16-year-old high school student who frantically called for help before dying in a freak accident that left him pinned inside a minivan.
"In all cases, we can do better; we should do better; we must do better," he told a special City Council meeting concerning the death of Kyle Plush, who twice called 911 last month begging for assistance from a parking lot near his school. He died six hours after his first emergency call.
Plush's father wants an outside investigation of his son's death because he says a preliminary report released Monday leaves too many questions unanswered.
"We need to understand all the things that went wrong so something like this doesn't happen again," Ron Plush told council members. "If a member of your family called 911 today, would you feel what happened to Kyle could potentially happen to them?"
Mayor Cranley agreed. "It's clear to me the report we have is incomplete," he said. "We need to get the answers."
Kyle Plush died inside his Honda Odyssey after reaching over its third seat to retrieve his tennis equipment. The bench seat then collapsed, pinning him upside down.
His cellphone was in his pants pocket, and Kyle was unable to move as the seat bore down on him, crushing his chest. He used Siri to summon help, and at one point he told a dispatcher: "I probably don't have much time left. Tell my mom I love her if I die."
Police who went to the Seven Hills High School area said they did not see anyone needing help. A few days after the death, authorities said the officers never got out of their patrol car, a revelation that angered Kyle's parents.
Problems identified in the report included inadequate supervision at the emergency communications center and the apparent inability of 911 officers to hear Kyle when he said his condition was serious.
An autopsy ruled his cause of death was suffocation caused by chest compression.
Key findings of the report included:
Kyle could not hear the operator, Stephanie Magee, on his first 911 call, and the dispatcher did not hear him when he said he might die if he didn't get help.
Another operator listened to the call while Magee tried to confirm his location. The second dispatcher heard Kyle say, "Help me I'm going to die. I'm in a van at Seven Hills (inaudible) shop."
The other dispatcher told Magee to give that information to the responding officers. Kyle's warning that he might die was not passed along to the officers, the report said, according to the Cincinnati Enquirer.
Police Officers Edsel Osborne and Brian Brazile spent 14 minutes driving through parking lots surrounding the school, including the one where Kyle was trapped. The officers said they did not get out of their patrol car because they had incomplete information about the incident and said they could cover more ground if they stayed in their vehicle.
The operator who took Kyle's second 911 call said she could not hear him. The report didn't say why. Her computer system froze and she had difficulty connecting to the system while on the phone with Kyle.
Police Chief Eliot Isaac said the officers and the operators followed standard operating procedures. Isaac said he would support hiring an outside investigator to review the emergency response.
The council will meet again on May 29 to discuss the incident.
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