The family of a Ohio teenager who was crushed to death by the seat of a minivan after emergency responders failed to find him in time has been awarded a $6million settlement.
Kyle Plush, 16, used voice activation to twice call 911 in April 2018 after a freak accident in the minivan he drove to school in Cincinnati left him squashed behind a passenger seat in the parking lot of his high school.
In one of the calls, in which he gave his location and make and model of the Honda Odyssey, he said: “I probably don’t have much time left, so tell my mom that I love her if I die.”
Two police officers allegedly searched the lot but did not find him.
Kyle’s father Ron discovered his body hours later when he did not return home from school, and later sued the city for wrongful death.
As part of the settlement, the city has pledged to improve its 911 call centre, including spending $250,000 hiring experts to evaluate changes over five-years, and publishing six monthly reports available to the public.
His mother Jill Plush said in a statement: “Kyle was a very positive person, and he would have wanted to make change. I really think that he’s looking down on us and he’s super proud of Al and his team for the work that they have done.”
His father Ron Plush added: “I think there’s going to be a lot of good things happening, and we’re going to be with them along the way for the next five years.”
The settlement reads that the city “has taken substantial remedial action to address the problems that contributed to first responders failing to locate and rescue Kyle Plush, but acknowledges the need for continuous improvement with public transparency and accountability”.
Al Gerhardstein, the family’s lawyer, said: “The family enters this agreement in honour of their son Kyle. To honour his memory, it was important that we secure a civic commitment to continuous improvement. With this agreement the city manager commits to continue reforms in an enforceable, transparent way that will make the City safer for everyone. The family sees improvement under the current leadership and this court-supervised agreement will build on that”, as reported by
City officials had originally sought to dismiss the case and said that Kyle was a victim of a freak accident.
But Mr Gerhardstein said that the case had revealed that the operator did not pass along details of his call to the officers on the scene.
Paula Boggs Muething, city manager, said that they would co-operate with the 911 call centre and police to ensure the city “never again experiences a tragedy like the one suffered by the Plush family. The City is dedicated to providing the most professional emergency response to all Cincinnatians.”
Watch: Ohio teen called 911 twice as he was being crushed to death