911 dispatcher who took call from teen who died trapped in van took another high-profile call with drastically different results

An Ohio dispatcher on administrative leave after failing to provide responding officers with information that could have save a teen’s life had apparently been commended previously for her good work on a different 911 call.

WLWT reports that Amber Smith, a 911 dispatcher who took a call from 16-year-old Kyle Plush on Tuesday as the boy gasped for breath while trapped under the third row seating in a minivan, also took a 2017 call in which she helped keep a 9-year-old girl calm after her parents overdosed inside their van.

As CrimeOnline previously reported, the parents of the girl, Paula Smith and Charles Dove, were in the front seat while the child sat in the back seat, when they allegedly started using heroin. Dove passed out in the driver’s seat, then Paula Smith started going in and out of consciousness. The little girl, frightened, first called her grandmother, Ann Dove, who said her granddaughter was near hysterics when she talked to her.

Paula Smith somehow managed to pull the car over into an auto service parking lot. That’s when the fast-thinking little girl dialed 911. She told Smith she was scared, but the dispatcher tried to calm the little girl down while her location was traced. Smith told the little girl she would be “OK” and that help was on the way.

Authorities tracked the car’s exact whereabouts by using information from the girl’s cellphone. First responders were on the scene shortly, and revived both parents with Narcan. Security cameras captured authorities getting the child out of the vehicle and leading her to safety.

The 911 call with Kyle had drastically different results.

Smith took a call from Plush on Tuesday after the teen became trapped inside a Honda Odyssey minivan at the Seven Hills School in Hamilton County at around 3:14 p.m. Kyle, who died inside the van, panicked as he told Smith he needed help and couldn’t breathe. Smith, who’s accused of failing to provide the responding officer with the make, model, or color of the minivan, is now on administrative leave while authorities investigate the incident.

A confidential police review obtained by the Enquirer reportedly indicated that some sort of mistake on Tuesday afternoon happened during Kyle’s second 911 call and Smith wasn’t able to hear him. Investigators are trying to determine exactly what happened and whether it was a technical issue, a mistake by the operator, or something else. Yet, the police and the city’s 911 service provider reportedly found nothing wrong the phone system.

On the call, Smith is heard asking if anyone is there. She didn’t say anything else afterward but Kyle can be heard panicking and explaining he felt he didn’t have much time left to live.

“This is not a joke. I am trapped inside a gold Honda Odyssey van in the parking lot of Seven Hills. … Send officers immediately. I’m almost dead……I probably don’t have much time left, so tell my mom I love her if I die.”

According to Hamilton County Coroner Lakshmi Sammarco, Kyle couldn’t breathe while trapped under the seat and in turn, died from “asphyxia by chest compression.” The teen’s father found him at around 9 p.m.

Per the review, Smith also said her computer froze when she tried to document the exact time the call from Kyle came in.

It was during that crucial second call that Kyle provided the needed information in order for an officer to find him, including the make and model of the vehicle he was trapped in and his exact location. Kyle’s van was later found in the overflow parking lot directly across from the school’s main parking lot.

Yet, WLWT reports that according to the 911 call dispatch report, the number Kyle called in from pinned almost exactly via Google Maps where he was found dead at later that night. Investigators are now trying to determine why 911 dispatchers didn’t map his location.

Check back with CrimeOnline as additional details become available.

[Feature Photo: Kyle Plush/Handout]