911 Glitch Involving Dead Valley Attorney and Young Son Came Two Days After Vaunted "System Upgrade"
Terrible tragedy off Interstate 17, up the big hill north of Black Canyon City last weekend, that took the lives of a Valley attorney and his 7-year-old son.
But we're not here to ponder whether the guy intentionally drove himself and his beloved little Max (there they are in the photo) into a ravine off the highway five miles south of the Sunset Point rest area.
Instead, we'd like to point out a cruel irony:
Last Wednesday, May 5, the Yavapai County Sheriff's Office issued a media release entitled "YCSO Implements Major 911 System Upgrade."
The blurb cites county Sheriff Steve Waugh's efforts "to bring the [agency] into the technological 20th century," noting that a crtical component of that "is the capability of the 911 phone infrastructure."
According to the release, the Yavapai County S.O. has completed the phase II portion of the state's 911 program, meaning that "dispatchers will be provided with the exact location of a wireless caller when they dial 911, and the location will be pinpointed on a map.
"This could be life-saving information depending on the circumstances of the emergency."
Sounds good enough.
But Hernandez had called 911 just after noon on Friday, telling a Yavapai County dispatcher that he was badly hurt and immobile after a car accident.
It's unclear if the injured man said where he was, but the vaunted new 911 system was supposed to have that covered, right?
We now know that Hernandez's wife had called Chandler police (that's where the family resides) on Friday afternoon and again on Saturday to report him missing.
Then, on Sunday, a smart Chandler cop somehow got wind of the 911 call and had a cell-phone provider track its general location.
That led cops up the big hill and. some hours later, to the grisly discovery in the ravine.
Later that day, a state Department of Public Safety helicopter pilot spotted the bodies of Hernandez and his son about 200 feet below the highway. Both had been ejected from the car, a little Mazda.
So what happened up in Yavapai County after Mr. Hernandez's 911 call?
We don't know that yet, but we do know this:
This story's gonna have some legs.