Emergency response time questioned in Vance beating

March 22, 2011 5:39:07 PM PDT
Vance County emergency dispatch took 14 911 calls from people who watched a man being beaten Saturday night, but help didn't arrive until it was over.

Authorities say Eric Loznicka struck 19-year-old Reuban Wright on Raleigh Road after Wright stepped into the road in front of Loznicka's car.

Shortly after that, an angry mob of bystanders, who troopers say were friends of Wright's, attacked Loznicka.

The first call came in at 9:17 p.m. as a personal injury; a man hit by a car. An ambulance and other emergency crews were dispatched within about a minute. But a minute later, the calls changed. The first of those calls was a panicked witness.

"It's on Raleigh Road, on Raleigh Road!" the caller exclaimed.

During the next call, the dispatcher asked about chaos in the road.

"This black guy was running up the road yelling not to mess with him and what have you, so that's why I thought?yeah, as far as we know, somebody just got hit. They're in the middle of the road," the caller told the dispatcher.

The next caller wasn't asked one question, but was told help was en route.

However, the help on the way wasn't police. It was medics.

Dispatch still did''t know what was happening on Raleigh Road.

"I don't even want to call it getting beat up," said the man who stoppd to help. "That man was getting beat down."

A motorist was driving by when he became, perhaps literally, a lifesaver.

"They was just taking turns on him," the Good Samaritan said. "Beating him all in his chest, punching him in the face, busted his all teeth in. I managed to get him into my truck, pulled 500 ft. down the road and I called 911."

According to the Good Samaritan, an ambulance was on the scene and EMS was fighting off people and trying to calm the situation. Still there were no police on the scene.

The director of emergency operations couldn't say when dispatch told the sheriff's office there was more going on at the scene, but the first deputy arrived at 9:30 p.m. That's 12 minutes after the personal injury call went out.

"I think they could have acted a little quicker," the Good Samaritan said. "I think they could have acted a whole lot quicker."

The emergency operations director wouldn't go on camera but on the phone, said the calls came in fast and when that happens, dispatchers can't spend too much time on any one call.

ABC11 asked if the speed of the incoming calls slowed the dispatchers' understanding of and response to the situation.

He said he's reviewing what happened but has confidence dispatchers followed protocol.

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