911 Operator to Teen Whose Dad Died: 'Stop Whining'

She called 911 after her dad was hit by a passing car while changing a flat
By Elizabeth Armstrong Moore,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 5, 2015 6:36 AM CST
Updated Feb 8, 2015 12:24 PM CST
911 Operator to Teen Whose Dad Died: 'Stop Whining'
Stock photo.   (Shutterstock)

When a teenage girl called 911 after her father and his fiancee were struck in a hit-and-run while changing a flat tire, she was so distraught that the 911 operator had a hard time ascertaining her location. Even so, he is catching flak for telling her to "stop yelling" and then "stop whining" during the call—and has been put "in a position where he won't have citizen contact" while authorities investigate, an Anne Arundel County fire official says. The department admitted there "could be a better choice of words," reports NBC Washington. The girl called from the shoulder of the Baltimore Washington Parkway in Maryland around 9:15pm Sunday after Rick Warrick, 38, and Julia Pearce, 28, were struck by a car as they finished putting on the car's doughnut.

Warrick had been driving his two kids to Dave & Buster's at the Arundel Mills mall. The car salesman was just tightening the lugs on his 2007 Hyundai Sonata when he was struck and killed; his fiancee, 28, had been holding a flashlight. She suffered two broken legs, a broken pelvis, and a fractured skull, and remains in serious condition. NBC Washington notes both the girl and her brother were in the backseat at the time. "Why didn’t you try to stop and help them or call for help?" Pearce's grandmother asked on CBS Local. Pearce and the kids weren't able to give a description of the car; anyone with information is asked to call the police. (It's not the first time a 911 dispatcher has made an ill-advised word choice.)

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