Police: Inexperienced dispatcher didn’t send trooper to plow-truck accident that killed 6-year-old Greene boy

Posted March 22, 2013, at 2:17 p.m.
Last modified March 23, 2013, at 6:29 a.m.

An inexperienced dispatcher appears to be the weak link in a chain of communications that broke down Tuesday after a 6-year-old boy was fatally struck by his father’s plow truck in his driveway in Greene.

State police weren’t alerted about the fatal accident until more than two hours after a 911 call came in to the Androscoggin County dispatch center.

Maine State Police Lt. Walter Grzyb said Friday that dispatchers at Androscoggin County seeking Maine State Police barracks in Gray are supposed to call dispatchers at the Consolidated Emergency Communications Bureau at the Department of Public Safety for Gray.

Androscoggin dispatch center called those dispatchers for Gray at 6:48 a.m. on Tuesday and again two minutes later to convey information about the Greene accident. The dispatcher who took the first call apparently asked whether a trooper was needed at the scene.

“They’re not requesting one,” was the response that apparently led the Gray dispatcher to think a trooper wasn’t needed, Grzyb said.

According to Clifford Wells, director of the Consolidated Emergency Communications Bureau, the Androscoggin County dispatcher answered: “No, we just want to give you a heads-up.”

“That’s why no law enforcement was sent immediately on the first call,” Wells said.

The second call the Androscoggin County dispatcher made to Gray was an update to say that an ambulance was on scene and to give the medical status of the boy. It was received by a different dispatcher.

Under those circumstances, a dispatcher in Gray would normally send an available trooper to the incident, Grzyb said.

Wells said both dispatchers in Gray who took the calls from Androscoggin County that day were new on the job.

Asked if they hadn’t been inexperienced, would they have dispatched a trooper to the accident scene, Wells responded, “I would say, yes, probably a more experienced individual probably would have done that.”

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