Texas - 911 system routes caller from "Flour Bluff" to wrong area - Victoria

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Wednesday, March 8, 2000

Glitch routes Flour Bluff 911 callers to Victoria... Parents whose son had stopped breathing get wrong dispatch twice before taking boy to hospital themselves

By Sara Fernandez, Caller-Times

Help usually is only a phone call away, but a glitch in Flour Bluff sent local 911 emergency calls to Victoria.

Darren Sutton of Flour Bluff said it was just before noon Monday when he called 911 while his wife Katy tried to revive their 2-year-old son, Timmy, who had stopped breathing after hitting his head.

When he told the dispatcher his address, she didn't recognize it. He told her it was in Flour Bluff and she told him that she was in Victoria and he must have made a mistake.

"I'm thinking, 'How can you dial 911 wrong?' But I hung up and in an increasing panic I tried again. When (the dispatcher) answered I asked if it was Victoria or Corpus and she said Victoria so I hung up on her," said Sutton, who is the youth minister at Padre Island Baptist Church.

Then Timmy began breathing again and the Suttons took him to the hospital themselves.

Corpus Christi Police Chief Pete Alvarez said the problem with 911 happened while Southwestern Bell Co. employees were working on telephone lines. Local Southwestern Bell officials couldn't be reached for comment Tuesday, but Alvarez said the problem was fixed quickly.

"Southwestern Bell was doing some work in the Flour Bluff area with 911 switches and something went haywire," Alvarez said. "The call was diverted to Victoria. After we found out it was quickly fixed."

Sutton said that while at the hospital waiting for tests on his son other people in the waiting room began talking about their problems reaching 911.

Alvarez said he was only aware of one problem with 911 - the Suttons calls.

Sutton said the 911 problem made an already scary incident more terrifying. "This was the first time we ever had to call 911 and I hope it's the last," he said.

Source: Corpus Christi Caller Times, Texas


-- Lee Maloney (leemaloney@hotmail.com), March 15, 2000

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