GARY, Ind. -- A 911 Lake County dispatcher has been fired another dispatcher has been suspended after a man was found dead in a Gary church last Saturday.
The head of the Lake County 911 center says the dispatchers were disciplined because their handling of the call was “unacceptable.”
44-year-old Burt Sanders first call for help came in just after 2 a.m. Saturday morning. Dispatcher Sherrie Williams got the off duty transit officer’s 911 call. He gave her his address and said he was having chest pains.
Sanders family says after a Friday night service at his father’s church he planed to do some handy work and work on a sermon when he felt those chest pains hit.
Williams instructed him to find the door so responders could get to him.
But sanders didn’t make it to the door. His father says he died near the rear of the church with his phone lying on the floor.
During the seven minute call you can hear Williams calling out to Sanders but other than moaning, Sanders is not heard from him again. The next dispatch is from the ambulance crew to radio dispatcher Vanessa Reese. Reese says they checked the doors and got no answers. She says they saw a vehicle but did not find anyone.
Reese was suspended for three days as part of the fallout.
The head of the Lake County 911 center tells WGN News, Reese was suspended because she should have called in the fire and police department to break down this door and get Sanders the help he needed.
He also said Williams was sent a certified letter saying she was fired earlier this week. He also says she was fired after six years on the job for not telling the radio dispatcher how urgent sanders 911 call was.
As for the Sanders family, they are putting their faith in God to get them through this and the suspension and firing means little.
Along with being a transit officer, Sanders also was a Gary police officer and served in the National Guard.
Funeral arraignments have been made with services scheduled for both Sunday and Monday in Gary.