Family blames paramedics' delay for man's death

by: Tom Regan Updated:

Fred Langley


The family of a 73-year-old Carroll County man believes an error by a 911 dispatcher delayed the response of paramedics and resulted in the death of a husband and father.

"This is a nightmare. My daddy could still be alive." said Zina Finley.

Finley, sobbed uncontrollably in her living room after learning Wednesday that a dispatcher sent paramedics to the wrong address when her father, Fred Langley, collapsed outside their Temple home on June 28.

Langley and his wife, Reba, were on the way to a doctor's appointment when he suffered an apparent diabetic seizure and fell unconscious.

His wife called 911 and told the dispatcher that she lived on Kathy Lane in Temple. For some reason, the dispatcher sent paramedics to a Kathy Lane address in Carrollton nearly 9 miles away.

After Reba Langley called a second time, another dispatcher answered and realized a mistake had been made. That dispatcher send a team of first responders that was closer to the family's home.

Authorities told Channel 2's Tom Regan the error resulted in paramedics arriving at the scene over 19 minutes after the initial call. The average response is less than 10 minutes.

"It was human error," said Carroll County Attorney Cynthia Daley.

Daley told Regan the dispatcher who made the error failed to narrow down the location by asking for a cross street. The emergency calls were made on a neighbor's cellphone.

"We are extremely upset and we take it very seriously." said Daley.

According to Daley, the dispatcher who handled the initial call has been terminated and other employees will receive additional training on handling emergency calls.

Authorities say there is no way to prove the delay in paramedics arriving at the scene caused Langley's death. He had a history of health problems and had undergone bypass surgery, but his family feels the slow response made a tragic difference.

"I'm totally upset . I mean, I lost my dad. How would you feel knowing someone is responsible for it?" said daughter Dana Horn.