The 911 dispatcher referred the distressed mom to a tow company instead of offering help
A mom accidentally locked her two-month-old daughter inside a hot car when she realized her keys were inside the car when the doors inexplicably locked. Terrified, the mom did what any mom would do — she immediately called 911 for help.
But they refused to send police or fire to help the frantic mom and her trapped infant.
After visiting her grandparents, Lacey Guyton says when it was time to leave, she placed her daughter, Raina, in her car seat, put the diaper bag in the car, and shut the door. While walking to the driver’s side, she heard the doors “randomly lock” and immediately realized her keys were in the diaper bag — inside the car.
Guyton says she tried to unlock the door using the touch sensor on her door handle, and the door didn’t unlock. “I had my grandma call 911 immediately while I grabbed a huge chunk of asphalt off the ground and start bashing it on my front passenger window as hard as I could and it was doing nothing,” she says. “My grandpa gave me a window breaker and that did nothing.”
Instead of offering to send help immediately — you know, what 911 is literally for — the dispatcher told Guyton’s grandma to “wait for a tow company.” Guyton says Raina was screaming and growing overheated in the car. “So I called 911 back and told her again my two-month-old is locked in a hot car and asked her to PLEASE send a fire rescue just to smash my window,” she says. “I didn’t care to wait for someone to unlock the door obviously I just wanted my windows smashed and my baby out.” Fox 5 has the transcript of the 911 call, and be warned — it’ll infuriate you.
911 call: “My granddaughter just put her baby in the car and the car door locked and we can’t get in it,” said Guyton’s grandmother, Mary Riley.
911 dispatcher: “We don’t unlock vehicles unfortunately.”
The dispatcher told her they don’t “send anyone out” to break windows or unlock cars. While it’s not technically a police officer’s duty to help people get into their cars when they lock themselves out, this situation was clearly an emergency and not the time for an emergency dispatcher to debate protocol semantics.
Guyton continued to try to break a car window as she grew panicked watching her daughter appear to fall asleep. “Realizing no emergency help is coming to save my baby was the worst feeling in the world,” she says. “I ran to the back windshield to try breaking that, and after two hard hits it finally shattered and I’ve never felt more relieved.” After breaking the rear windshield, Guyton manually unlocked the car door to get her baby out and cool her down.
The tow company recommended by the 911 dispatcher showed up 12 minutes after the baby was rescued by her mom. “It was the most traumatic 15 minutes of my entire life and we are so thankful our daughter is okay, but we’re extremely pissed that after calling 911 twice for our daughter’s life on the line, a dispatcher who’s been there for years, still refused to send help.”
The Waterford Chief of Police has since apologized to Guyton. “It’s a common sense issue,” Chief Scott Underwood tells Fox 5. “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.”
Uh…yes. Immediately, if not sooner. That poor, frantic, terrified mother should never have had feel so helpless after calling for help. And once that baby was free from the hot car, there should have been emergency responders right there at the scene, ready to make sure she was alright.
When it comes to emergency situations like this, glass experts recommend keeping a hammer or screwdriver in your car in order to break the glass car windows a certain way. “You want to go toward the edges of the glass, which is the weakest point of the glass,” Nick Baldi, a Kansas City-based glass window and tint expert says. “The hardest part of that glass is in the dead center.”
The veteran dispatcher involved in this story will likely face disciplinary action and the entire police department will undergo further training on how to handle a call like Guyton’s in the future.
“It was terrifying. It was like the worst day of my life,” she says. “I was so, like, shocked, [thinking] they aren’t coming; I have to get her out of here. Nobody’s coming to help me.”