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Responder systems to be upgraded after trapped Ohio teen's death

The gold 2002 Honda Odyssey where Kyle Plush, 16, died after being crushed by a minivan seat in a school parking lot despite two calls to 911. Photo courtesy WKRC

Kyle Plush, 16, died after being crushed by a minivan seat in his school's parking lot. WKRC

By DAN SEWELL, Associated Press

CINCINNATI (AP) — Authorities in Cincinnati will upgrade technology and change operating procedures while independent reviews are being launched into the failed response to a 16-year-old student who died trapped in a minivan parked near his school.

Acting City Manager Patrick Duhaney said Monday the city will upgrade computer-assisted dispatch, police in-car mapping, and training for 911 call-takers, among other steps such as requiring call-takers to communicate more information and making police officers get out of their cruisers in such searches. Two officers sent in response to Kyle Plush's first 911 call drove through parking areas around the school, but didn't get out. Police have said they didn't have information needed to narrow their search.

Meanwhile, city officials said two outside companies have been retained to review the emergency center and the police response and to recommend changes. Mission Critical Partners of Port Matilda, Pennsylvania, and Chicago-based 21st Century Policing are expected to be ready to present their findings in about three months.

Duhaney and other city officials responded in a City Council committee hearing to questions raised by Kyle Plush's parents and council members. Ron Plush, who found his son dead nearly after six hours after the first of two 911 calls by Kyle on April 10, was present with his wife Jill.

Plush told council members "lives are at stake" and they will continue pushing for changes to make sure no other family has to suffer the tragedy Kyle's has.

"We need to continue to ask the difficult questions," Plush said. "When we say we are going to do something, then we need to do it ... Accountability is mandatory."

A coroner says Kyle died of asphyxiation because his chest was being compressed. It's suspected that the foldaway rear seat in the 2004 Honda Odyssey minivan flipped over and pinned him as he reached for his tennis gear in the back.

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