911 operator hangup trial begins in Houston

A high-profile trial begins in Houston, Texas.

911 operator Crenshanda Williams is accused of hanging up on more than 800 emergency calls. In one case during a store robbery, it resulted in a clerk being killed. Another involved a serious case of illegal street racing.

"There was one recording where she hung up on a gentleman calling to report racing on the freeway," said Claire Morneau. "After the call disconnected you can hear her speaking, and what she says is 'Ain't nobody got time for this, for real.'"

Williams has pleaded "not-guilty" but police say in the past she admitted to hanging up on certain calls because she simply "wasn't in the mood."

She is facing two misdemeanor counts of interfering with an emergency call. But the remaining 800-plus calls are still being investigated.

KPRC-TV reported Williams was involved in thousands of "short calls," lasting 20 seconds or less, between October 2015 and March. Joe Laud, the Houston Emergency Center administration manager, said Thursday she was placed on indefinite suspension and fired Aug. 4.

Harris County court records show 43-year-old Crenshanda Williams of Houston was charged Oct. 5 and freed on $2,000 bond.

According to KPRC-TV,  police said when Williams was questioned in June 2016, she told them she often hangs up on calls because she didn't want to talk with anyone at that time.

One caller, Buster Pendley, said Williams hung up on him March 1 when his wife collapsed and lost consciousness. Pendley said he tried to perform CPR on his wife with one hand while calling 911 with the other.

"The 911 operator answered the phone, and she said, 'This is Crenshanda, may I help you?'" Pendley recalled. He told her his wife had passed out and needed an ambulance, the operator said OK then hung up.

He got help after a second 911 call and his wife, Sharon Stephens, survived, but the experience still makes her angry.

"I would have gotten from my hospital bed and gone to 911 and find out who did that to me," she said.

If convicted, Williams could be sentenced to up to a year in jail and $4,000 fine for each count.
 


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