Response Time Questioned in Ohio Teen's Death

Verona Fire Department Capt. Rob Rayburg says help could have gotten to Nicely faster had dispatchers called


 
 

Katie Wedell, Dayton Daily News | | Friday, June 15, 2012


MONTGOMERY COUNTY, Ohio -- The death of a teenager in a one-vehicle crash Wednesday morning has heightened a debate about emergency response times in Clay Twp.

Hannah Nicely, 18, of Brookville died from injuries sustained when she lost control of her vehicle in the 11000 block of Sweet Potato Ridge Road and crashed into a tree.

Nicely, a recent graduate of Tri-County North High School, had to be extricated from the vehicle and was treated at the scene for unstable breathing before being taken by Care-Flight to Miami Valley Hospital, where she later died.

Several local residents questioned the amount of time it took fire crews to get to the scene and said it's not the first time they've had this problem.

"Our biggest problem here in Clay Twp. is that Verona doesn't have a rescue squad," said Diana Hofasker, who owns the property where Wednesday's crash occurred. She said she has called for medics in the past and had to wait 20 to 30 minutes.

The scene of the crash, about a half-mile east of Preble County Line Road, lies between Verona and Phillips-burg.

The tax levy for fire services is split between Verona, Phillipsburg and Brookville, Hofasker said.

The Montgomery County Regional Dispatch Center dispatched Clay Twp. police, Phillipsburg medics, and Phillipsburg fire crews to the scene.

Clay Twp. police Chief Don Perkins said in the past, accidents in that area were usually handled by Phillipsburg medics and Verona fire.

Verona Fire Department Capt. Rob Rayburg says help could have gotten to Nicely faster had dispatchers called them instead.

He said Verona firefighters didn't get a call for 18 minutes.

"Eighteen minutes is a lot of time," said Rayburg. "(That time) could've helped us get here a little bit quicker, assess the situation and try to extricate the victim."

Montgomery County sheriff's Capt. Rob Streck said there was no issue with response time in Wednesday's crash and said dispatchers followed all established policies.

"Verona does not have an ambulance service," he said. "They contract with Phillipsburg. (The call) was dispatched per the protocols concerning medic calls."

According to dispatch center records, Clay Twp. police and Phillipsburg medic and fire crews were dispatched at 7:03 a.m.

Police were on the scene in six minutes, while a medic arrived eight minutes after the dispatch, according to records.

Phillipsburg crews requested an additional engine from Verona after calling CareFlight to the scene at 7:13 a.m.

Rayburg said the closest crew should be dispatched and said the crash scene was less than two miles from the Verona fire station. He said dispatchers should have called Verona fire in addition to Phillipsburg medics.

The Phillipsburg fire station is about four-and-a-half miles from the scene of the crash.

"(Verona) could have been there in three minutes," Hofasker said. "This woman died. That very well could have been the difference." She said it took about 20 minutes for crews to pull apart the car and get Nicely out.

"The response times are longer now then they've ever been," said Kevin Wombold, a retired volunteer firefighter who was one of the first on the scene attempting to help Nicely.

Rayburg said this is the second wreck this month where he's taken issue with the dispatch procedure. Verona firefighters didn't get called at all last time.

Perkins said speed was likely to blame for the crash.

Funeral arrangements have not been finalized for Nicely, according to a family member.



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