“This Will Teach You” — Heartless 911 Operator Scolds Drowning Woman Trapped in Vehicle
Last Saturday, Debbie Stevens, 47, of Fort Smith, Arkansas drowned in her SUV, which had been swept into a creek during a flash-flood.
The tragedy is making national headlines due to the remarkably callous treatment Debbie Stevens received from the 911 dispatcher, Donna Reneau, just moments before her death.
“I’m scared. I’ve never had anything happen to me like this before,” Debbie Stevens said over the phone. Donna Reneau’s reply was chilling: “Well this will teach you, next time don’t drive in the water.”
Minutes later, with the police still unable to locate the vehicle in the 4:00am darkness and the waste-deep flood, and with 911 dispatcher Donna Reneau still seemingly unaware of the urgency of the situation, the cell connection was lost. More than an hour after the phone call was made, Debbie Stevens was found in her vehicle, drowned.
Fox News has the provided the audio and a report of the aftermath. Fox reports Interim Police Chief Danny Baker describing Reneau’s response as “calloused and uncaring at times… I completely understand the disgust and the concern that we all have. We all hope that we would get a little better response.”
Donna Reneau, the 911 dispatcher, was working her last shift, having giving two weeks’ notice. She will not be subject to disciplinary action, as she is no longer employed by the city.
The breath we have is a gift from God. None of us knows when it will be taken. Fortunately, from the recording it seems that Debbie Stevens was a woman of faith, as she spent part of the call asking the 911 dispatcher to pray with her, and then ended up speaking a prayer.
“You created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb,” says Psalm 139:13. Our prayers go out to the family of Debbie Stevens and especially to her mother in this time of tragedy, as we remember the irreplaceable value of her life.
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