A complaint filed against Los Angeles County on Tuesday claims a misrouted 911 call led to a Lynwood girl’s death.
Ashley Flores, 11, died after having difficulty breathing due to asthma at her home the afternoon of Dec. 24, 2017, according to the lawyers representing her family.
Her 16-year-old sister, Dulce, called 911 multiple times and was put on hold before being connected to a fire station, where nobody answered, a statement from the law offices of Vicki Sarmiento said.
Dulce should have been connected to fire dispatch, not the fire station, attorney Dale Galipo said at a news conference on Tuesday. Each call was answered by the same deputy at the Sheriff Department’s Century station, according to the complaint.
After more than 15 minutes and five attempts, the girls’ aunt eventually got ahold of the right dispatcher, the law office said.
Ashley’s three other siblings were also present during the ordeal, according to the court filing.
“The doctor at the hospital who spoke to the family told them that if the response had been sooner, in his opinion, Ashley would’ve lived,” Galipo said. “We believe the responsibility of this goes all the way up to the Sheriff’s because he’s the one who’s in charge of training and policy.”
Sheriff Jim McDonnell and Capt. Kerry Carter of the Century station were named in the complaint. According to the court filing, LASD Century station’s desk operations failed the agency’s annual inspections the last three years.
In a statement released following the complaint’s announcement, the L.A. County Sheriff’s Department said it has opened an investigation into the incident but could not comment about what happened until a thorough review.
“The Sheriff has reached out to the family to personally express our sorrow for their loss and to learn as much as possible about what happened,” the agency said. “Clearly the death of this little girl is heartbreaking.”