Questions surround 9-1-1 dispatcher's handling of call about submerged van

The executive director of St. Joseph County 9-1-1 released a statement after questions were raised about a 9-1-1 operator's handling of the call about the crash on University Drive that killed two children and injured an adult and an infant.

The van's driver, Brooke Natalie Kleven, failed to negotiate a curve and the van went into a retention pond on University Drive in Mishawaka Wednesday afternoon, according to the St. Joseph County Fatal Crash Team.

Kleven, 31, and her 3 month old infant, Hendrix, survived and are in critical condition at the hospital. Kleven's other children in the vehicle, 4-year-old James and 2-year-old Natalie, died.

A 9-1-1 dispatcher is under investigation for how she handled the initial call about the submerged van, a source told ABC57.

Multiple sources confirmed the dispatcher first called the Clay Fire Department about the submerged vehicle, even though the crash was in Mishawaka.

There are questions about the possible delay in mobilizing the South Bend Fire Department's dive team to the scene to help rescue the family.

Raymond Schultz, the Executive Director of the Public Safety Communications Consortium, released this statement:

We are making this statement on behalf of St. Joseph County and its employees, and particularly those in the 911 dispatch center.

First, we extend our deepest sympathy to the entire family; we cannot imagine at all the extent of this loss.  We are praying for a full recovery for the survivors.

Secondly, as there have been several inquiries regarding the events leading to this tragedy, we wish to provide an accurate account of events with the understanding that we will be providing details as we are able to. We are analyzing all the information available to us currently.

There is an open investigation into this matter being conducted by the FACT unit.  We are cooperating fully with that investigation.  As stated, we will provide additional details as we are able to.

We are conducting our own investigation to determine if we can respond quicker and more accurately; we will review procedures to make sure we are as helpful as we can be during emergency calls.  Our review will also include analysis of whether any disciplinary action is in order under these circumstances.  

Finally, we want to express how sorry we are to the family.  We all wish this tragedy could have been avoided.  

Share this article: