A beautiful spring afternoon turns tragic for 16-year-old Kyle Plush when he was crushed inside his parent Honda Odyssey. Plush, a sophomore at Seven Hills School in Madisonville, Ohio was found by his father at 9:00 p.m. on April 10th. Investigators of Plush’s death noted that there were many moving parts to the circumstances leading to the death of Push, a series of events that went perfectly wrong. Hamilton County Coroner stated that Plush died of asphyxiation due to chest compression after the teen was pinned under a folding seat inside the Plush family’s Honda Odessey Minivan. This horrible turn of events could have been stopped if someone had only seen you Plush trying to get his tennis gear from the backseat of the van, if only a police officer had spotted the van, or if the second 911 operator, who was put on leave following the incident, had given police officers Plush’s description of the van -the 16-year-old might be alive today.
Just what did happen? What didn’t happen?
Plush was a proud member of the Seven Hills tennis team and was supposed to compete in a match the evening of April 10th. Plush was in his minivan and while reaching for his tennis gear he became pinned down by the third-row seat. The third-row seat of the Honda Oddessy was designed to fold up and then down into a compartment in the floor. The seat flipped with Plush leaning over the back of it, flipping Plush on his head with his chest caught between the seat frame and the compartment in the floor of the van where the seat was to go.
Plush was pinned, trapped, with his chest being crushed leaving it hard for Plush to breath. The young man was able to get to his cell phone and proceeded to make two calls to 911 dispatch, one at 3:16 p.m., and the other at 3:35 p.m., Plush was on the phone with one of the 911 operators for nearly six minutes according to call recordings. Both sides were clearly having trouble hearing one another.
“I can’t hear you,” Plush said in the first call. “I’m at Seven Hills. I’m going to die here.”
The operator kept repeating herself: “Hello? Hello?”
The first 911 operator was able to understand where Plush was and what had gone wrong. The operator sent officers to the school parking lot where Plush was suffocating. At 326 p.m. officers, Edsel Osborn and Brian Brazile arrived on scene and body camera from the two officers show that they never got out of their cruiser. The body cam footage also showed that the officers only checked on one of three parking lots for the Honda minivan.
While in the parking lot the trapped teen made a second call to 911 saying,
“I probably don’t have much time left,” he said, this time talking to a different operator. “Just tell my mom that I love her if I die. This is not a joke.”
In this second call Plush to 911 Plush gave specific details about the van he was trapped in including the make, model, and even the color. The information was never relayed to officers Osborne and Brazile. At 3:37 p.m. the officers closed the incident and went back on patrol.
Later in the evening, while at the school to direct traffic a Hamilton County Sheriff ‘s deputy decided that he wanted to take a second.
“Your guys couldn’t find any van with anybody stuck in it,” he told an operator in a four-and-a-half minute phone call, “but I just wanted to go around and double-check one more time.”
The deputy has stated that he saw only one van in the lot during his check but didn’t find anyone in it. Cheif Issac later said that it was probably the van Plush was in. The deputy and operator continued talking about Plush’s 911 calls and just what might have been happening.
“(He) was unable to hear me and just kept repeating, ‘Help, help, I’m stuck. I’m in the Seven Hills Parking lot,’” the operator said. “It was really hard to hear (him). It sounded like (he) was kind of far away from the phone.”
“That’s weird,” the deputy responded.
“Yeah, it was really a strange call,” the operator said.
The operator and officer also talked about whether the whole might have been a prank. About the time that Plush was making his calls to 911 the deputy had run into a woman at the school that was in his way. He wondered if that woman was up to something, especially since the first two officers who looked for the van didn’t find anything.
Approximately four hours later, somewhere around 8 p.m., a classmate of Plush called the Plush family to notify them that Plush never showed up for the tennis match. Using the phone tracking app on Plush’s phone the family tracked the teen’s phone and it led them to the school. Just before 9:00 p.m., Ronald Plush found his son’s body, in the van, that was in the lot that police had searched, just as his son had described it to 911 operators.
TIMELINE of EVENTS
- Around 3 p.m. Tuesday: Plush was parked outside Seven Hills School. He was on the tennis team, and he was supposed to be playing in a match that evening. He was trying to get his tennis gear from the back of his van when he was pinned by the third-row seat.
- 3:16 p.m.: Plush called 911. It’s not yet clear if he was put on hold or got right through to an operator right away. When the call was answered, Plush told the operator he was trapped in his van at Seven Hills School. “I’m going to die here,” he said.
- The call was disconnected, and the operator tried less than a minute later to call back. It went to voicemail.
- 3:26 p.m.: Officers Edsel Osborne and Brian Brazile arrived on scene. Body camera footage shows they did not get out of their cruiser, and they appeared to search only one of three parking lots around the school, at least while their cameras were on.
- 3:35 p.m.: Plush called 911 for the second time, repeating his plea for help. He told this operator he was trapped in a gold, Honda Odyssey van at Seven Hills Hillsdale. He told her he was almost dead, and he asked her to tell his mother he loved her. The updated vehicle description was never passed on to officers at the school. The operator on the second call has been put on leave.
- 3:37 p.m.: The officers at the school finished their search without finding Plush. They marked the incident closed and went back into service.
- 3:48 p.m.: A Hamilton County Sheriff’s deputy, who was at the school helping with traffic, decided to search the lot again. He, too, came up empty.
- 8 p.m.: A classmate contacted Plush’s family, telling them Plush never showed up for his tennis match. Plush’s family called the police and used Plush’s phone to track his location. Plush’s father went to the school and found his son’s body in the van.
- 8:59 p.m.: Police and fire units responded to the scene after multiple calls. They were unable to revive him.
In a Facebook post, Cincinnati’s police union president said the two officers who responded to Kyle Plush’s 911 call tried to call him back while on the scene. Facebook post from President Dan Hils, who was responding to a column by The Enquirer’s Jason Williams who quoted Mayor John Cranley as saying:
“I would say that there’s going to be blame assigned both to the police and to the 911 center.”
He explained the initial dispatch to Officers Edsel Osborne and Brian Brazile was a “very routine, non-emergency” call, explaining they had very little information to work on.
“They pictured a female with locks that had malfunctioned,” Hils said. The first call taker had reported the voice on the call sounded female.
When asked about the fact that body cam footage showed that the two officers never left their car, Hils replied:
“The officers, both in the same car, were dispatched to a large school campus with several parking lots,” Hils wrote. “This large area was best covered in their patrol cars.”
He added that the officers spoke with a Hamilton County Sheriff’s Deputy who was on the scene and one used his personal cell phone to try to call Kyle, but there was no answer.
“Police receive non-specific calls for assistance every day. On many occasions, the person who called can’t be located,” Hils wrote. “Both of these officers are experienced and are highly respected.”
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