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Old 03 May 2018, 05:26 pm
Leroy N. Soetoro
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Default Family of Ohio teen crushed by minivan seat storms out of meeting, says councilman 'crossed the line'

The grieving family of an Ohio teen who was crushed to death in a minivan
last week stormed out of a meeting with Cincinnati leaders Tuesday, with
the boy's uncle scolding a councilmember and angrily shouting the man had
"crossed the line."

Kyle Plush's family sat in the front row for five hours as city leaders,
including law enforcement officials, detailed issues with the 911 center
while hearing testimony from current and former employees, according to

But it was at the end of the meeting, when Councilman Wendell Young
attempted to summarize the hours-long discussion as "everything that could
possibly go wrong went wrong," that members of the Plush family erupted.

"I suspect that there will be attempts to do what the law allows to be
done to try to, in some way, to make up for what happened with you. But
there's no amount of money that's going to make you happy," Young said.

His next sentence was cut short by Kyle's father, Ron Plush, who yelled,
"This isn't about money," while wiping tears off his face, FOX19 reported.

The councilman kept speaking, saying "I believe that there's no amount of
blame that's going to make the situation better. So I think at the end..."
before Kyle's uncle stood up, cut him off and began shouting.

"You know what, stop this right here," he said. "This is the most
insensitive thing I've ever heard! You guys were doing wonderful 'til this
guy started talking. I'm tired. You've crossed the line! You have crossed
the line."

Young later apologized to Plush's family, telling FOX19 that it "was never
my intent" to offend them.

"Sometimes itís not so much of what you say, itís where you say it," Young
said. "Their feelings are still very, very raw. For a moment I forgot to
take that into consideration so I am really, really sorry that I hurt

Earlier in the evening, Cincinnati Mayor John Cranley said the city owes
Kyle's family an explanation for why police and the city's 911 system
failed to save him.

ďI feel blame personally, and I think we all should," he said. "Regardless
of whoís at fault. Things didnít go the way they were supposed to go and
that is on us. Iíve said it to the family and let me say it again: 'I'm

Plush suffocated after he became trapped under the third-row seat that
flipped and pinned him while he was trying to reach his tennis equipment.
The teenager told 911 operators where he was located, but authorities were
not able to find him. A deputy sent to the scene soon after called in to
report that he couldnít find anyone trapped in a van, and questioned if
the call had been a prank.

Police said Amber Smith, the 911 operator who answered Plushís second
call, failed to relay information to the additional officers who were at
the scene.

During the call, Plush explained to Smith the call was not a joke.

"I am trapped inside my gold Honda Odyssey van in the parking lot of the
Seven Hills...Send officers immediately," Plush pleaded. "Iím almost

Smith, who has been a 911 operator for four years, will return to work on
Wednesday but will not answer emergency calls while an internal
investigation is under way. She told supervisors her computer froze and
she was unable to put information into the system. She also told her
supervisors she didn't hear the teenager, according to a police quality
review report obtained by FOX19.

During the meeting on Tuesday, current and former employees of the 911
center listed ongoing problems with the computer-aided dispatch system,
and described the workplace as a "toxic" environment with staffing down 50
percent at times.

"We just started it in January, so like I said it's just, sometimes itís
hard to hear," dispatcher Beth Radigan said.

When asked if she had trouble hearing before this new system, Radigan
replied, "Not that I can recall, but again each call is different,
sometimes you don't hear cell phones."

The day that Plush died the CAD system was down, forcing dispatchers to
use a backup system, Radigan told councilmembers.

Councilmembers said they will continue to work with employees to learn
exactly what happened the day Plush died, and that nothing like this can
ever happen again.

"I'm saying we have a problem. Let's acknowledge it out loud and then we
can ultimately put a plan together," Vice Mayor Christopher Smitherman

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