Three years ago, the Cincinnati police and emergency center staff were unable to rescue a teenager who died after being trapped in his car.
Kyle Plush died after the third row seat on his Honda Odyssey collapsed on him on the afternoon of April 10, 2018.
The minivan was parked in a parking lot near the Seven Hills School where Kyle, 16, was a student. He was held in his seat but was still able to call 911 twice by voice activation of his iPhone.
“A recipe for disaster”: Cincinnati’s 911 system warnings of Kyle Plush’s death
Plush was found by his father at around 9 p.m. on April 10.
“Kyle accepted life with a passion that extends well beyond his years,” said the Plush family after Kyle’s death. “We thank God he shared it with us for over 16 years, but we really want it to be here today.”
Much has happened since the night Kyle died. This is what we know.
How did Kyle Plush get caught in his Honda Odyssey?
Plush was on the Seven Hills tennis team and was due to play in a match that night. He was sitting in his 2004 minivan reaching for his tennis gear when he was pinned to the third row seat.
A closer look: Here’s how the seat was flipped over in Honda Odyssey, how it was used by Seven Hills Teen
Kyle managed to make two calls while stuck, but help never came. The 16-year-old died of asphyxiation from a chest compression, which meant he was crushed to death.
When did Kyle Plush ask 911 for help?
The Seven Hills School sophomore made at least two 911 calls, one at 3:16 p.m. and one at 3:35 p.m., asking for help. Plush spoke to operators on the phone for almost six minutes based on call recordings.
A closer look:How exactly everything went wrong and how a 16-year-old ended up dead
Both Plush and the 911 dispatcher had trouble hearing each other. “I can’t hear you,” said Plüsch on the first call. “I’m in Seven Hills. I’m going to die here.”
The operator was able to understand where Plush was in general and sent officers to the school parking lot where it was. Two officers arrived at the scene at 3:26 p.m. They were there for 11 minutes patrolling the area looking for someone in need.
While they were in the parking lot, Kyle made his second 911 call. This time he gave more details about the van he was trapped in, including the color, make, and model. This information was never shared with local officials.
Kyle Plush tragedy:“I probably don’t have much time left,” said the dying Seven Hills student on 911
“I probably don’t have much time left, so tell my mom that I love her when I die,” Plush told the 911 dispatcher. “I’m trapped in my golden Honda Odyssey Van. In the (inaudible) parking lot of Seven Hills Hillsdale.”
At 3:37 p.m., officers closed the incident and resumed work.
When was Kyle Plush found?
Plush was found by his father, Ronald Plush, in a parking lot near the school in Madisonville around 9 p.m., about six hours after his first call to 911.
Plush family sues Cincinnati after Kyle’s death
Kyle Plush’s family filed a wrongful death lawsuit in Hamilton County Commons Pleas Court in August 2019 after police and 911 center staff were unable to rescue the youth.
A look back:After 911 calls failed to save 16-year-old Kyle Plush, his parents are suing Cincinnati for answers they were promised
The city of Cincinnati spent more than $ 100,000 on three previous investigations that cleared answering machines and officers of any wrongdoing. Since then, attempts have been made to conduct more training, hire additional staff, and update the 911 system to allow users to enter information about themselves.
However, the lawsuit describes a deteriorating 911 system in the months leading up to the plush’s death, leading to months of town hearings and allegations that the 911 center was not staffed or trained.
Legal action:Nine City of Cincinnati mistakes that resulted in Kyle Plush’s death
The city moved to dismiss the lawsuit, but Hamilton County Common Pleas Court Judge Robert Ruehlman said no.
The Plüsch family will receive a $ 6 million settlement from Cincinnati
On the eve of the three-year anniversary of Kyle Plush’s death, the city of Cincinnati agreed to pay $ 6 million to the teen’s family to settle an unlawful death lawsuit, the second largest settlement in city history.
At the settlement, the city is also pledging to make further improvements to the 911 center, starting with $ 250,000 to hire three outside experts to deal with the city’s 911 operations. The oversight will last five years, the agreement says, and it also stipulates that improvements recommended by the experts must be made.
News:The Plüsch family will receive a $ 6 million settlement from the city. “We miss our son Kyle terribly,” says Jill Plush
Another check of why aid never reached Kyle is also done.
“One goal will be to assess the actions or inactivity of the ECC answering machines and first responders that contributed to Kyle Plush’s death and the appropriateness of subsequent measures the city has taken to address these issues,” it said Center staff and police officers in the settlement can be questioned again.
3 years later, the Cincinnati 911 Center is still understaffed
Three years later, the Cincinnati Emergency Communications Center remains understaffed, an investigator’s investigation into city and court documents reveals.
Documents from the $ 6 million settlement reached last month between the city and the family of 16-year-old Kyle Plush show fewer workers answer 911 calls than seven months after Plush’s death – when the city began To make a concerted effort to increase the number of staff and keep the staff who already had them.
A closer look: What has changed at the Cincinnati 911 Center since Kyle Plush’s death?
“Kyle was a person of action and a problem solver,” his mother Jill Plush told The Enquirer. “We did this because he would have liked a change so this would never happen again – something to make sure that any issues that were encountered were exposed and that a plan was in place to address those issues.”