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Panicked mom locked baby in hot vehicle, says 911 told her they wouldn’t send help

A Michigan mom was told by emergency dispatchers that help would not be coming when she accidentally locked her baby in a hot car. She was able to smash a window and get the child out. Police have apologized.
A Michigan mom was told by emergency dispatchers that help would not be coming when she accidentally locked her baby in a hot car. She was able to smash a window and get the child out. Police have apologized. Lacy Guyton/Facebook screenshot

When a Waterford, Mich., mom accidentally locked her 2-month-old baby in a hot car Saturday, she did what most people have been trained to do in an emergency: call for help.

As she grabbed “a huge chunk of asphalt” from the ground and began pounding at the window, Lacey Guyton told her grandmother to call 911, according to her Facebook post.

But when they got through to a dispatcher, Guyton said they learned no help would be coming, according to WJBK.

“(The dispatcher) says, ‘Ma’am we can’t unlock cars or break windows,’” the grandmother said, according to the station. “And then you feel so helpless. All the help we think we were going to get - the only help we were going to get - we don’t have it.”

Guyton wrote on Facebook that she called back and asked again, only to be told the same thing.

“The 911 dispatcher told my grandma to call a tow company because they don’t send anyone out to unlock cars or break windows ... I didn’t care to wait for someone to unlock the door obviously I just wanted my windows smashed and my baby out. Again she told me she would transfer me to a tow company because they don’t send anyone out to break windows or unlock cars,” Guyton wrote.

She said her worst fears passed through her mind, according to a CBS report.

“Nobody’s coming and I don’t know if I’m watching my baby die right in front of me,” she said, according to the station. “So she’s screaming and crying, which is making her hotter, and I’m still trying to break the window.”

Eventually, she used a window-breaking tool to break through the back windshield and get her daughter out of the car, she described on Facebook.

“She was really sweaty, screaming, and just drenched in sweat,” Guyton said, according to WJBK. “She was probably in there like 10 minutes, so we immediately got her out, got her inside, cooled her down.”

Guyton said what she experienced was unacceptable, CBS News reported.

“If there’s a mom begging you to come save her daughter’s life, you send somebody ... If I couldn’t get the windshield broken, she wouldn’t be here right now. And I hope the dispatcher knows that ... and I hope that this never happens to anybody else again,” she told the site.

Waterford police chief Scott Underwood told the Oakland Press it was true that the department usually did not respond to locked car cases because “it happens quite often and it’s more of a job for a wrecker service” and it distracted officers from other issues. But he said in this case officers “certainly should have responded to that call,” the paper reported.

The chief said the dispatcher would face some form of consequences, WJBK reported.

“You call 911, you expect for somebody to come and give you some help, and we certainly should have gone and done that. We made a mistake and we need to fix that,” he said, according to the station.

Video released Aug. 16 by the Seminole County Sheriff's Office, shows an officer rushing to save a 3-year-old girl left in a hot car on Father's Day. Dash cam footage shows the officer carrying the girl out of the car and heading to the hospital.

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