In Jan. 2012 a Charlotte (NC) man received a telephone call from his girlfriend’s phone, but heard only a commotion in the background before it was hung up.
The girlfriend worked at a restaurant, and she did not return home from work. Three hours later the boyfriend dialed 911 to report she had not returned home, and believed the restaurant was being robbed.
The call taker misheard the address and restaurant name. Officers did not locate the restaurant, and found the girlfriend’s boy the next morning when workers arrived at the restaurant
Danielle Watson was murdered on January 13 after a co-worker, who was robbing the Flying Biscuit Cafe in Charlotte, North Carolina where they both worked, stabbed her. The man charged with her murder is 22-year-old Mark Anthony Cox. Prosecutors may also charge him for murdering her unborn baby.
Watson, the 25-year-old manager of the restaurant, was pregnant at the time. She was supposed to marry her boyfriend Keith Smith later in the month, but instead, her funeral had to be scheduled for that day.
Could Watson have survived her stabbing if police had arrived at the Ballantyne restaurant sooner? If so, depending on the specifics of what happened, her family might have grounds for a North Carolina wrongful death case.
Apparently, Smith called 911 to tell them he thought the restaurant where Watson worked was being robbed and he asked them to check on her. Unfortunately, the call-taker had typed in the wrong address and the responding police officer ended up going to the wrong place. It wasn’t until the following morning—six hours later—when police were asked to go to the restaurant to check on a possible larceny crime that Watson’s body was found behind a dumpster.
During the 911 call, the call-taker failed to confirm the address or the name of the business that Smith provided. Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Captain Mike Campagna has said that per the training of call-takers and dispatchers, they are always encouraged to confirm the addresses that are given to them. Now, however, following Watson’s death, they must now confirm this information.
Also, Smith’s call was categorized as a Priority 3, which gives officers 15 minutes to respond. The cop that was dispatched arrived at the wrong address in 12 minutes.
If the call had been categorized as a Priority 1, usually given to those involving the threat of immediate death or injury, a police officers would have had to arrive at the scene within three minutes.
Smith says that the 911 call-taker told him that someone would call back after checking on Watson. No call ever came. The responding police officer’s notes indicate that she tried to call Smith “but was unsuccessful.”
If you believe that your loved one died and that someone else’s negligence or carelessness contributed to his/her passing, you may be have grounds for filing a Charlotte, North Carolina wrongful death case. If someone you love was fatally injured or died while doing his/her job, the victim’s family likely cannot sue the employer, but should be entitled to North Carolina workers’ compensation death benefits. That said, there might be third parties that can and should be held liable.
The entity in charge of overseeing 911 in your area could be held liable if negligence on the service’s part allowed you or your loved one to sustain serious injuries or contributed to such injuries happening. Contact our Charlotte, North Carolina personal injury law firm and ask for your free case evaluation with the Law Offices of Michael A. DeMayo, LLP.
Flying Biscuit case prompts change in 911 policy at CMPD, Charlotte Observer, January 30, 2012
Following deadly stabbing, restaurant could face penalty for hiring a felon.