Grand jury finds death linked to dispatch delay to be human error

by: Tom Regan Updated:


CARROLLTON, Ga. - Channel 2 Action News has learned a special grand jury called to investigate Carroll County's E911 center after a dispatch error and death of a Temple resident concluded the mistake was not linked to any technical or computer system glitch.

"They determined that the computer-assisted dispatch system was not to blame in this instance, that it was human error," Carroll County District Attorney Pete Skandalakis said.

Skandalakis impaneled a special grand during at the request of a Carroll County commissioner who suspected a new software upgrade in the county's emergency call center was prone to mistakes.

Fred Langley, a 73-year-old resident of Temple, collapsed outside his home June 23. His wife Reba called 911 and gave her address on Kathy Lane in Temple.

But the dispatcher sent first responders to Kathy Lane in Carrollton, 9 miles away. The error resulted in a 10-minute delay to the scene. Langley died shortly afterward.

In the three-day special grand jury probe, jurors toured the 911 call center, observed dispatchers, listened to recorded calls, reviewed documents and subpoenaed testimony from government officials and the company that designed the software upgrade.

Channel 2's Tom Regan obtained the grand jury's findings Thursday after the document was reviewed and signed by a judge.

It said in part, "After careful consideration of the available evidence, we find that the CAD system now being used was not responsible for recent unfortunate incidents of misdirected emergency responders and that those incidents were most likely caused by human error."

Regan showed the findings to Fred Langley's widow, Reba. She said she found them hard to accept.

"I still can't believe it's just human error. I think it's some of both. He was breathing and if they had gotten here when I called, I think he would be with us today. I truly believe that," Reba Langley said.

The grand jury recommended more effective communication between and among Carroll County E911, law enforcement, emergency responders, and county and municipal governments.

Furthermore, it recommended the User Board, an advisory panel, be more engaged in the operations of Carroll County E911.