FORT MYERS, Fla--A Fort Myers couple says their panicked call to 911 about a possible drunk driver fell on deaf ears and they want to know why!
Karen and Ed Cooney were driving along McGregor to their home on Fort Myers Beach when they noticed something wrong with the driver in front of them.
"Very quickly, we noticed he was driving erratically," said Karen. She says the minivan was swerving and driving over the curb.
"I looked at Ed and said, 'Should I dial 911?'" recalled Karen. "He said, 'Yea, you better.'"
Ed kept following the driver while Karen described to the 911 operator what the driver was doing. Karen also called out passing street names and landmarks.
"Suddenly he just stopped in the middle of the road," said Karen, "So at that point Ed got out of the car."
"Basically the guy look almost looked like he passed out," Ed said, describing what he saw when he approached the car. "The car door was locked. I banged on the car window the guy looked at me. I yelled at him 'Open the door. Open the door.'"
Law enforcement still hadn't arrived on scene.
So several other witnesses starting calling 911. One of those callers brought her cell phone to Ed.
"I guess they were asking questions that she couldn't answer," said Ed.
While Ed was already on the line with the Lee County Sheriff's Office, Fort Myers police transferred Karen's call to the Sheriff's Office. The operator on the line with Ed said Fort Myers Police would respond. At the same time, Karen was on the line with an operator who said the sheriff's office would respond.
"Well nobody came. Nobody came. So I called 911 back again," said Karen.
By then, more than half an hour had passed since the initial call. The operator couldn't tell Karen when police would arrive.
When police and EMS finally arrived on scene, they discovered the driver wasn't drunk. He was having a diabetic attack.
"She kind of scolded me," said Karen about the office who arrived on scene, "I said well we didn't know he was diabetic. And I don't know what we could have done if would have known. You know we thought help was going to come."
CALL FOR ACTION started asking questions about this call and both Fort Myers Police and the Lee County Sheriff's Office took action. Both departments investigated the incident.
Investigators discovered the driver stopped right on the line between the county and the city's jurisdiction. Operators for each department thought the other had the call and canceled their crews.
"When we go back and really look at things the deputy should have never been canceled off that call," said Lt. Larry King with the Lee County Sheriff's Office.
He told WINK NEWS because it was on that jurisdictional boundary, protocol is to continue sending the deputy.
Both departments say they will use this call to train operators to make sure this doesn't happen again.
"Part of 911 is to be able to coordinate agencies," said Lt. Jennifer Soto with the Fort Myers Police Department, "That we can respond in these situations--so to communicate and see what went wrong and where we can improve in the future.
The Cooneys hope that is true. They say the whole incident has left them a little shook up.
"After the fact you sort of feel sad for him (the driver)," said Ed. "(He) didn't hurt anybody, but he could possibly you know died there."
Investigators say the diabetic who was driving the minivan is ok.