- Associated Press - Wednesday, September 2, 2015

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) - The city of Little Rock faces a second wrongful death lawsuit in the case of a woman and her son being stranded in a submerged vehicle in January 2013.

Authorities say Jinglei Yi called 911 for help after her vehicle hit a patch of black ice and slid into a pond, the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette (https://bit.ly/1JM2tWz ) reported. The 911 dispatcher who took her call immediately sent an ambulance to the scene, but not police officers or Fire Department water rescue crews.

Attorneys representing Yi’s estate said about 53 minutes passed from the time of the call until Yi was pulled from her submerged vehicle. The city previously said that about 31 minutes passed from the time Yi first made the 911 call until the time the first fire crew arrived at the scene.

Yi died later in the morning after the accident, and the latest lawsuit alleges that her death was caused due to “was the chronic understaffing and underfunding of the City of Little Rock’s Communications Center which handles 911 calls.”

Attorneys for Yi’s estate say they have a 2005 city memorandum that mentions how “adequate staffing remains a critical concern” for the center.

“In the over two and half years since the death of Jinglei, a wife, a mother and a nurse, the City of Little Rock has done nothing to address the Communications Center staffing issues that contributed to her death,” said attorney Carter Stein.

A city spokesman said on Tuesday that the city hasn’t yet been served with the lawsuit and to comment on the lawsuit would be “premature and inappropriate at this time.”

He said the city employed 30 call takers and 25 dispatchers at the time of Yi’s death. There are now 19 call takers and 23 dispatchers.

The first suit was filed on behalf of Yi’s 5-year-old son, Le Yang, who lost consciousness and cognitive function after the accident. He died this year, and his family said it was from drowning-related injuries.


Information from: Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, https://www.arkansasonline.com

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