911 dispatcher refuses to send help after mother accidentally locks two-month-old daughter in hot car
Lacey Guyton had strapped her daughter in and was about to get into the car when the doors inexplicably locked with the keys and the toddler inside on a hot August afternoon
Lacey Guyton had to go through a terrifying experience: she accidentally locked her two-month-old daughter, Raina, inside her car on a hot summer day and when she called 911 for help, they were not willing to dispatch help to deal with the situation.
Lacey had been visiting her grandmother in Waterford with the daughter Raina. When it was time to leave, she strapped her daughter in and was about to get into the car when the doors inexplicably locked with the keys inside leaving Raina in a precarious predicament.
It was a hot August afternoon and Lacey was aware that it wouldn't be long before her daughter would pass out from the heat. She began trying to break open the windows with a piece of asphalt. At the same time, her grandmother, Mary Riley, called 911 for assistance only to be told that she could not be assisted.
"It was terrifying. It was like the worst day of my life," said Lacey speaking to Fox2Detroit. "I was so shocked [thinking] they aren't coming; I have to get her out of here. Nobody's coming to help me."
The 911 dispatcher who answered the call said that they "don't unlock vehicles, unfortunately" and offered to transfer them to a tow company instead. "She says, 'Ma'am, we can't unlock cars or break windows,'" said Mary. "And then you feel so helpless. All the help we think we're going to get — the only help we're going to get — we don't have it."
"She said we have to call a tow company," Lacey recalled. "I'm like, grandma, we don't have time to call a tow company. I don't know how many minutes I have until she passes out."
Desperate, they tried calling 911 again but ended up reaching the same dispatcher who once again refused to dispatch help.
When they called the town's fire department asking for help, the dispatcher there said that the department "doesn't come out for that" and instead said she could send over a wrecker service for which they would be charged.
Finally, Lacey used a tool to break the back window and rescue her daughter.
"She was really sweaty, screaming, and just drenched in sweat," Lacey said. "She was probably in there like 10 minutes, so we immediately got her out, got her inside, cooled her down."
Mary added: "It's the most helpless feeling seeing your great grandbaby in there crying, drenched in sweat. We want this corrected. We don't want anyone to lose their baby because this wasn't taken care of for us."
The news of the incident soon reached the ears of Police Chief Scott Underwood who apologized for the ordeal the family had to go through. "It's a common sense issue," he said. "You call 911, you expect for somebody to come and give you some help. And we certainly should have gone and done that. We made a mistake and we need to fix that."
Underwood said that the dispatcher who answered the call was a veteran at the job and that she should have known better. He added that she would face disciplinary action and that others would be given more training on how to handle these situations better in the future.