Emergency responders in an ambulance in Flint, Michigan, who responded to a car crash this weekend, apparently failed to notice that there was a man in the vehicle who was later found dead. Police did not go because they were busy responding to other calls.
More than an hour after the first ambulance left, a second one returned and reported that there was a dead body in the car, reported Detroit Free Press. The victim has been identified as 28-year-old Cortez Cheathams.
"Why the first crew didn't find a patient, I don't know," said the ambulance company’s director of community relations, Lynn Schuter. "It is under investigation."
Flint Police Chief James Tolbert confirmed that the incident is under review and added that the police department was unable to send officers to the scene because they were all currently responding to a homicide investigation and a separate shooting, according to MLive.
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Residents first called dispatch at 4:12 a.m. on Saturday, July 18, to report that a white Chevrolet Impala hit a tree off the road.
The first ambulance arrived at 4:26 a.m., MLive reported. The crew reported that there was no one in the vehicle, so the call turned into a single-car property damage accident, abandoned vehicle and was no longer a priority.
"EMS reported back to us that there was nobody in the car and it was just an abandoned car," Tolbert said. "That's way-low priority."
After two more 911 calls, dispatchers confirmed with the ambulance at 5:28 a.m. that no patient was found.
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At 5:39 a.m., a neighbor made the fifth 911 call about the incident, and dispatchers sent another ambulance to the scene. At 6:07 a.m., the emergency crew reported that a man was dead in the driver’s seat, according to Tolbert.
That was one hour and 55 minutes after the original 911 call.
"We don't know the exact time of death, but we are gathering as much information as we can and talking to everyone involved," Tolbert said. "It obviously wasn't the best outcome to an accident. Just trying to find out what part everyone played in it."
This is not the first time that emergency response services failed in Flint, Michigan, according to MLive.
In 2014, police told a Domino’s Pizza employee that they were too busy to respond to an assault in the store.
In 2012, a woman was raped inside a church, and police reportedly never showed up.