A misrouted 911 call caused a terrifying moment for an injured New Jersey woman who was 40-weeks pregnant.
Julie Grone of Cinnaminson, New Jersey, was playing with her 2-year-old son on the playground of Riverton Memorial Park just blocks away from her home on May 8 when she accidentally struck her head. She fell sideways to avoid falling on her unborn child and snapped her foot.
“Anything could’ve happened,” Grone said. “It was probably the scariest moment of my life.”
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Grone first called her sister to help with her son and then called 911. That’s when she says her bad situation turned even worse.
“When I called 911, the call was connected to the 911 in Philadelphia,” she said. “I explained to the dispatcher what happened and asked to be connected to my local 911. He said he was unable to do that but could connect me to the 911 in Camden.”
Grone says she repeated her story to the Camden 911 dispatcher and dealt with even more issues after she asked to be connected to the Cinnaminson 911.
“The dispatcher said they were unable to connect me but they would give me the number,” Grone said. “So even though I was bleeding from my head, was unable to walk and 40 weeks pregnant, I had to memorize and then call the local emergency number.”
Grone says her cell phone was covered with blood, making it difficult to dial. Fortunately she was finally able to get through to her local center and help arrived.
Three days after her accident, Grone delivered a healthy daughter, Allyson. The day after giving birth, she underwent surgery to get a metal plate and 14 screws inserted into her foot. In light of what happened to her, she hopes someone’s next 911 call won’t be their last.
“I just hope dispatchers know what to do from now on so nobody gets hurt,” she said.
An official with the Burlington County 911 center says the misplaced call was likely a cellphone issue. She also said there are certain places along the river in Burlington County where calls made in the area sometimes go to a tower that bounces the call to the Philadelphia center, which is the nearest tower.
The official also admitted however that those issues didn’t explain why Grone’s call went from Philadelphia to Camden County and that dispatchers should have been able to immediately connect her to the correct center in Burlington County. Officials are working with Philadelphia’s 911 call center to find out exactly what went wrong.