911 operator tells victim ‘stop yelling at me,’ later hangs up on her
CHICAGO — The victim of a dangerous road rage incident in the South Loop says she called 911 during the chaos, only to be told by the operator, “stop yelling at me.” The same operator then hung up on her during a second call.
The woman, who asked not to be identified out of fear that the suspect could find her, said she was driving near 13th and Wabash on June 23.
A man in a white van aggressively cut her off, she hit the horn and, according to a police report, the man got out of the van and started yelling racial and gender slurs at her.
“The words started with an N and the other one starts with a B,” she told CBS 2. “He was a maniac.”
She tried to drive away but the man got back in his van and started to follow her, so she called 911.
“This car is following me. I’m on 13th and Wabash,” she told the operator.
The woman, clearly frightened, went on to shout “he keeps trying to cut me off and he just threw something at my car.”
The operator, apparently agitated, responded by emphatically saying “Okay, stop yelling at me. What kind of car you in?”
After a brief silence, the victim said “Are you going to help me or not? I’m scared.”
After a few seconds of unintelligible dialogue, the dispatcher said, “You’re yelling at me. What kind of car you in?”
The victim told the dispatcher “you’re no help,” and said she had to hang up because she feared for her life.
She said the man then got out of his van again and started to approach her. At that moment, the operator called back.
“Hello?” the victim said.
“What kind of car are you in ma’am?” asked the operator.
“Is this the same lady I just talked to?” the victim asked.
“Yes, it is,” the operator said.
The victim said, “I don’t want to talk to you. Put somebody else on.”
It is unclear whether the operator heard the request for someone else. The operator is then heard saying “bye” and the call ends.
“She hung up on me,” the victim said.
She was able to speed away and got home physically unharmed.
“So he might still be out there harassing people,” she said.
The victim later filed a police report and complained to an Office of Emergency Management and Communications supervisor.
She says OEMC managers called her back the next day and apologized and said they had plans to discipline the operator.
“I think she should be disciplined,” the victim said. “I think termination, but at least some kind of probation.”
In an email late Thursday afternoon, an OEMC spokeperson said disciplinary proceedings are underway for the employee. They said the employee will also be retrained, and the road rage call will be used for OEMC training purpose in the future.
The email also stated that police were dispatched to 13th and Wabash for the call.