Debra Smith's 911 Call to Arkansas Police

Sometimes you just want to reach through the phone and smack someone in the face.

Debra Stevens was performing her usual newspaper delivery route in Fort Smith, Arkansas, when her SUV began to be engulfed by escalating floodwaters.

The desperate 911 call from the 47-year-old woman, who delivered the Southwest Times Record to households, was placed at 4:38 a.m. on the morning of August 24th. The call, a frantic 22-minute appeal for aid, was met with a dispatcher who, as the Fort Smith Police Department admitted, appeared to be "indifferent and insensitive at times". That's an understatement.

Dispatcher Donna Reneau had submitted her resignation two weeks prior to Stephens' death, making August 24 her final day as a 911 operator. Reneau was not criminally charged in relation to the death. Following an internal review of Reneau's actions and those of the emergency responders during Stephens' drowning, the Police Department released a report on December 20, concluding that Reneau had fulfilled her responsibilities as required.

Debra Smith 911 Call to Police