Fireworks Complaints Clog 911 Lines and Contribute to Death of Motorcyclist

Adan Lopez, 26, was riding west on 37th Street North when he struck the curb west of Ridge Road in Wichita, KS, at 9:43 p.m. on July 4, 2011. Police advised that neither alcohol nor speed were suspected as factors in the crash.

Two witnesses called 911 to report the motorcycle accident but were unable to get through due to heavy call volume.

The 911 lines had received a high volume of complaints about fireworks noise and there were more calls than the dispatchers on duty could handle. Instead of reaching a dispatcher, the witnesses who tried to report the accident and get assistance for Lopez got a busy signal.

Randy Bargdill, Emergency Communications Director, said that it was the first time anyone in Sedgwick County could remember receiving a busy signal when dialing 911.

Lopez was eventually transported to Via Christi Hospital on St. Francis, where he died on July 13, 2011.

In response to the events of July 4, Sedgwick County is looking to establish a separate fireworks complaint line. If the Sedgwick County Commissioner’s approve the separate fireworks complaint line, the number will be made available to the public before the 2012 Fourth of July festivities.

Metier Law Firm – Denver Injury Attorney

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