On Wednesday, Cincinnati Mayor John Cranley said the officers dispatched to locate a teen stuck in a van will likely face accountability after the boy died while trapped under the vehicle’s seating.
“We’ll see what the report says, but if I had to guess, I would say that there’s going to be blame assigned both to the police and to the 911 center,” Cranley said, according to The Enquirer. “I think the police will be held accountable, and I agree that’s it’s disturbing they didn’t get out of their car. That will be addressed.”
According to their body camera video, the officers sent to help 16-year-old Kyle Plush as he suffocated in his van drove straight past him — and never got out of their own car to search.
We recreated their route to show where they missed him. pic.twitter.com/8xNYkWxbZ2
— WCPO (@WCPO) April 20, 2018
Police body cam footage on the day of the incident showed that the two responding officers, Edsel Osborne and Brian Brazile, did not get out of their cruiser as they circled the parking lot of the Seven Hills School at 5400 Red Bank in Hamilton County. After a few minutes of driving around the parking lot, one of the officers said, “I don’t see nobody, which I didn’t imagine I would,” before shutting off his body cam.
Further, although the Seven Hills School has three parking lots, the officers reportedly only searched the main parking lot before leaving.
As of now, both officers have not been placed on administrative leave. According to Cranley, additional details, including why the 911 operator who took Kyle’s second was placed on leave while the officers were not, are expected to be presented in within a week or so after detectives wrap up the investigation.
“I’m not an employment lawyer,” Cranley said when why the officers were not put on administrative leave. “I’m not trying to avoid the question. I’m just saying there are legal implications to your question that I’m unqualified to answer.”
Kyle Plush: What We Know
As CrimeOnline previously reported, 16-year-old Kyle Jacob Plush called 911 on the afternoon of April 10 and panicked as he explained that he was locked inside a 2004 Honda Odyssey minivan in the parking lot of Seven Hills School at 5400 Red Bank in Hamilton County. He indicated he didn’t have much time to live.
“This is not a joke,” he said. “I am trapped inside a gold Honda Odyssey van in the parking lot of Seven Hills. … Send officers immediately. I’m almost dead.”
An officer responded to the scene and claimed he couldn’t find anyone trapped inside a van. According to ABC, the officer reportedly began arguing with a woman nearby and questioned if the call was a prank. The officer left but Kyle called 911 again, explaining that he was indeed in the van and he wasn’t making a fake call.
According to the Cincinnati Enquirer, sources indicated that Kyle, who played on the school’s tennis team, attempted to grab tennis gear from the back of the van while putting his knee on the third row seating area. The third row bench seat flipped backward, collapsed on him, and trapped him. The weight of the seat flipped Kyle upside down with his head facing the rear of the van.
Kyle couldn’t reach his phone, so he voice-activated “Siri” on his iPhone. After help failed to arrive after the first call, Kyle called 911 again and conveyed that he thought he didn’t have much time to live and wanted to make sure his mother knew he loved her.
"He will swallow up death forever… the Lord God will wipe away the tears from all faces."
Rest in Peace, Kyle – and thank you for the joy you brought to so many.
The Plush Family is a model of grace and courage, including the bravest Eulogy I have ever witnessed. pic.twitter.com/11BVWVUQaG
— P.G. Sittenfeld (@PGSittenfeld) April 16, 2018
“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., hours after he called 911 for help. Earlier that evening, the boy’s mother called 911 for help when Kyle failed to return home.
“My son never came home from school,” Kyle’s mother said to a 911 dispatcher. “We thought he was at a tennis match. And he never came home from school…We don’t know where he is.”
While investigating the incident, authorities learned that the 911 operator who took Kyle’s second call failed to get the make, model, and color of his van. An officer was reportedly told to go to the Seven Hills School parking lot, but the van was parked in the overflow parking lot, located directly across the street from the school’s main parking lot. The confusion apparently caused the responding officer’s failure to locate the vehicle.
The 911 operator was identified as Amber Smith, a woman who has worked with Cincinnati’s 911/ECC since 2014. Smith was put on administrative leave while authorities continue to investigate the incident.
Kyle had spinal developmental issues, along with other medical problems, according to WHIO. However, friends and family said that he never let his disabilities keep him down. He loved sports and enjoyed being a part of the Seven Hills School’s tennis team. His former principal at Mercy Montessori, Patty Normille, said that while attending the school from kindergarten to sixth grade, Kyle loved science, showed great empathy for others, and was a “small guy with a big personality.”
The story continues to develop. Check back with CrimeOnline as additional details become available.
[Feature Photo: Kyle Plush/Handout]