911 Operators Say Boy Who Called About Mom's Driving a Hero

Mother arrested for alleged drunken driving after son, 8, called 911 twice.

ByABC News via logo
February 18, 2009, 5:46 PM

Oct. 24, 2007 — -- The 911 operators who took a frantic call from an 8-year-old boy concerned about his mother's driving are now calling him a "hero."

Operators Laura Irish and Lisa Dobbs both took 911 calls from the boy, who was riding in the car with his 5-year-old sister. The boy said his mother, 33-year-old Paulette Spears, was driving erratically and "not acting normal."

Thanks to the persistence of the boy, who called 911 twice, the operators were able to help police track the car to a fire station near Vancouver, Wash., where Spears was arrested Saturday.

"He's amazing. He's very articulate for an 8-year-old to say some of the words and the descriptions he used, and very brave to keep calling back," Irish said. "I would say he's a hero to his sister and to anybody else that could have been injured."

Officials say Spears pulled into a fire station, claiming to have a medical problem, but they say she smelled of alcohol. She allegedly refused a Breathalyzer but admitted to having "some beers."

Spears pleaded not guilty to driving under the influence, assault and reckless endangerment. If convicted, she could face up to a year in jail. Records show she has at least one conviction for drunken driving, according to The Associated Press.

While the case is pending, she is not allowed any contact with her children who have been placed in the custody of an aunt.

Irish said that she thought Spears might have been having a medical problem, until the boy said, "I don't know what's going on with her. She had some drinks at a restaurant and I think those are affecting her. I don't think she knows what's going on."

"It was scary. I was really worried that something was going to happen and it wasn't going to end well," Dobbs said.

The operators complimented the boy's remarkable composure and his determination in calling back.

"She is yelling at me telling me to give you the to give her the phone," the boy said on the call.

He handed the phone to his mother, who seemed to hang up. A police official told the AP that at one point Spears apparently bit the boy's hand to get the telephone away from him.