Waterford Township, MI – A mother used a household tool to get her two-month old daughter from inside a locked car after a 911 dispatcher refused to send help.
Lacey Guyton posted her account of what happened on the Aug. 18 incident involving her two-month old daughter Raina on her Facebook page.
She said that as she put her baby in the car seat with the diaper bag she shut the door.
As she walked around the car to the driver’s door she heard all the doors randomly lock. Then she realized her car keys were in the diaper bag.
She said the car doors should have unlocked because she had a key fob to start the car and touching the door handle with the keys inside should have unlocked the door. But that didn’t happen.
“And my heart sank,” Guyton wrote.
She had her grandmother call 911 immediately as Guyton said she grabbed a large piece of asphalt off the ground and started bashing it against the front passenger window with all her might. She said that had no effect.
Then she said the 911 dispatcher told her grandmother to call a tow company because they don’t send anyone to unlock cars or break windows.
At that point, Guyton said her baby was screaming and it was getting hotter in the car. Guyton then said she called 911 and asked the dispatcher to send a fire rescue team just to smash the window because her baby was locked in the car.
Guyton said the dispatcher said she would transfer her to a tow company because they don’t send someone to unlock a door.
Guyton told the dispatcher to transfer her to a tow company and asked them to come and then she went back to trying to break the window.
“I checked on Raina again real quick and saw she stopped crying and was starting to close her eyes and at this point I didn’t know if she was going to sleep or if my baby was dying,” Guyton wrote. “Realizing no emergency help is coming to save my baby was the worst feeling in the world.”
This time, Guyton said she ran to the back windshield and tried breaking that and after two hits it shattered.
“I’ve never felt more relieved,” Guyton wrote. “I crawled through, grabbed her, and the key fob and it still wouldn’t unlock the car.”
Guyton said 12 minutes after she had her baby out of the car, the tow company showed up.
“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 daughters life on the line, a dispatcher whose been there for years, still refused to send help,” Guyton wrote.
Guyton said she did receive an apology from the police department.
“We, not unlike many other police departments, don’t assist when someone locks their keys in their car,” said Waterford Police Chief Scott Underwood, according to the Oakland Press. “The reason being it happens quite often and it’s more of a job for a wrecker service, we would rather deploy our resources to help in other places, and it’s become apparent over the years police are not experts at unlocking cars.”
“However, I would say none of those reasons apply in this case,” Chief Underwood said, according to the Oakland Press. “We certainly should have responded to that call. Once it became clear there was an infant involved, we should have sent police to the scene.”
Chief Underwood said the 911 dispatcher has yet to return to work. He said that the police department would speak to the dispatcher and it would be handled within the disciplinary process. He said the entire dispatch center would undergo training on the issue.
“This is a common sense issue, but even with that, when we find an issue or an opportunity to be better at what we do, we act," Chief Underwood said, according to the Oakland Press. "We want to make sure everyone understands that although our policy is not to assist with locked vehicles, there are extenuating circumstances like children, pets or elderly, anyone who can’t help themselves. We need to be responsible and have a clear delineation.”