After what he said were four attempts to reach a 911 operator after a car had hit his vehicle on a Texas road, Kelvin Crowe of Dallas gave up, got out of his car and was hit by a passing vehicle as he tried to flag down help.
“The first three calls, the line was busy,” Crowe told ABC’s Dallas-Fort Worth affiliate WFAA Wednesday. On the fourth call, “the automated machine said, ‘All other operators are busy assisting other callers,” Crowe told the TV station. ”It said, ‘Hold for the next available operator.’ I held for maybe a minute. It made a funny sound, so we hung up.”
It all started late last Saturday night when Crowe’s tire blew out. Still in his car, he was making his way to the shoulder of the road when another vehicle hit his car from behind, according to the affiliate report.
Crowe’s fiancee was injured in the crash, and he called 911, using her cell phone. Calls were made at 11:48, 11:49, 11:54 and 11:58, according to WFAA, but never got through to the 911 call center.
Crowe exited his vehicle and tried to get help from the road.
But another car hit him, and he ended up in the hospital. “I just heard the tire screeching and then, ‘Bam!’” Crowe said. “I just kept saying, ‘Lord, please don’t take me. I got kids depending on me. Don’t take me … don’t take me.”
Crowe had broken his arm, bruised his leg badly — and his right eye needed stitches.
“Maybe if we’d have gotten a response, or if police would have answered, then I would have just stayed in the truck a little longer,” Crowe said. “That way I wouldn’t have walked back down there and it would have been avoided.”
But the city of Dallas said it’s not at fault.
“The city of Dallas conducted a review of the calls during the time period of this incident,” read a statement from city hall. “At this time, we cannot find any indication that the Dallas 911 call center received a call from Mr. Crowe’s cell number.”
“It went into the antenna, but it didn’t come to us,” Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings told WFAA. “We’ve got proof it didn’t show up at 911. … The call got into T-Mobile’s antenna, and it didn’t get to us. It wasn’t sent appropriately. One of those things that just didn’t hit up.”
In a statement, the city of Dallas said the call center had received other calls at about the same time as Crowe’s, and that it was not at capacity.
A Dallas Police Department lieutenant who oversees the call center visited Crowe in the hospital Tuesday to get a firsthand account, a city spokesman told WFAA.
“Cell phones can be extremely valuable in emergency situations. However, cell phone users should always be aware of the limitations in cell phone technology in relationship with 911 systems,” read the city of Dallas’ statement.