There will be no charges filed in the tragic death of a 16-year-old Ohio boy who was crushed to death in his minivan despite making two desperate 911 calls, a prosecutor announced Thursday.
Kyle Plush's April death was investigated by outside consultants, who spent months reviewing the response of police and 911 dispatchers to the teen's phone calls saying he was trapped inside his van in the parking lot of Seven Hills High School in Cincinnati.
The dispatcher who answered his second emergency call said she could not hear him when he described the make, model and color of the vehicle in which he was slowly suffocating after a folding seat collapsed on him, crushing him into the trunk and compressing his chest until he could no longer breathe.
"No criminal charges are appropriate and, therefore, none will be filed," said Hamilton County Prosecutor Joe Deters. He expressed sympathy to the boy's parents, who were not satisfied with the investigation's findings and have been critical of the way police and dispatchers handled their son's cries for help.
"This report is not enough," Kyle's mother, Jill Plush, told the Cincinnati City Council Thursday. "When you don’t have strong leadership, everything below it crumbles."
“If even one person in that whole 30 or 40 minutes was being their best self that day," she said, "Kyle would be alive."
The boy's pleas were heartbreaking.
In his first call, Kyle says, "Help! I'm stuck in my van. I need help!" Police later said Kyle was unable to hear the dispatcher. Asked where he was, Kyle replied "Seven Hills" several times, the name of his private high school. He can also be heard screaming, "I'm in desperate need of help!"
Two officers were sent to the school. They drove through the parking lot, but didn't get out of their patrol car. They didn't have enough information to find the vehicle, they said.
When Kyle called a second time, some 15 minutes later, he was struggling to breathe. "I don't have much time left. Tell my mom I love her if I die." He begged for immediate help. "I'm almost dead," he said. "This is not a joke. I'm trapped inside my gold Honda Odyssey van."
But, authorities said, that information never made it to officers on the scene. The review found problems with the response system's infrastructure, but determined the actions of all involved were "reasonable."
The report suggested the city work to improve morale at the 911 call center, which they said was noisy, distracting and badly laid out. Kyle's 911 calls also encountered technical glitches that made it difficult to hear both ends of the conversation.
The city said it has made several improvements to its emergency system, including an update that allows officers to see photos, medical notes, pets, car information and emergency contacts associated with the person calling for help.
Kyle's body was found hours later by his father, who went looking for his son when he didn't come home.