The parents of the Ohio teen who suffocated to death in his minivan last year are suing the city of Cincinnati for wrongful death over the alleged mishandling of their son’s 911 calls.
Sixteen-year-old Kyle Plush called the police twice on April 10, 2018, after he was pinned down by the third-row seat in the back of his family’s van while parked at his school. Kyle had attempted to get something from the backseat of the van when the vehicle’s rear seats unexpectedly folded back on him. The boy managed to make two emergency calls to police using his iPhone’s voice-activated Siri tool.
“He provided his location and a description of the van,” the lawsuit stated. “He screamed, pounded, begged for help. No one helped him.” Kyle’s parents filed the lawsuit on Monday, which included the city of Cincinnati, its city manager, two officers and two 911 operators as defendants in their son’s wrongful death case.
Kyle’s first 911 call was made at 3:14 p.m. ET, in which he told the dispatcher he was stuck inside his van parked at Seven Hills School, NBC News reports. In the second call, which was made at 3:35 p.m., Kyle informed dispatchers of the make and model of the vehicle and one last message to his mother: “I probably don’t have much time left, so tell my mom that I love her if I die.” Kyle’s parents accuse the first 911 operator who took the boy’s call of withholding information on the teen’s exact location and alleges the second 911 call was treated as a “silent call,” or an improperly enabled call.
In addition, the lawsuit claims the two responding officers should be held accountable for not properly checking the parking lot even with the teen’s GPS tool that could pick up Kyle’s cellphone location. “Kyle was alive when the officers abandoned the scene,” according to the lawsuit. “Kyle’s father, not the police, finally discovered his lifeless body hours later.” The lawsuit goes onto to explain that the city knew about previous complaints made about the police department’s Emergency Communications Section poor service, its negligence when locating callers and its delays with sending out dispatchers in response to emergency calls. It alleges that the city was “negligent, reckless, wanton, willful and deliberately indifferent to the health of 9-1-1 callers.”
The city of Cincinnati has yet to respond to a request for comment from NBC News. Ron and Jill Plush last year described their son to NBC News as a “very creative, smart person” and praised his quick thinking after he became trapped in the vehicle. “If you met Kyle, he was just an unforgettable kid,” Jill Plush said at the time. “He always had a smile on his face; he was always friendly to people that he would walk by; he had a larger-than-life personality.”