Found guilty of hanging up on thousands of emergency calls, a former 911 operator was sentenced Wednesday to community service and 18 months probation. Besides hanging up on people with severe medical conditions, Crenshanda Williams also abruptly terminated at least one call that ultimately resulted in a robbery victim dying at the crime scene.
While working at the Houston Emergency Center between October 2015 and March 2016, Williams disconnected thousands of 911 calls because she admittedly “did not want to talk to anyone at that time.” In August 2016, a review of Williams’ call logs revealed that many of her emergency calls only lasted 20 seconds or less, and she was fired by the city after numerous complaints.
On March 1, 2016, Buster Pendley called 911 after his wife collapsed and lost consciousness due to a blood clot in her lungs. While attempting to perform CPR with one hand, Pendley dialed 911 with his other hand.
“The 911 operator answered the phone, and she said, ‘This is Crenshanda, may I help you?’ Wife’s passed out I need an ambulance,” Pendley told KPRC2. “She said OK, and she hangs up on me.”
On March 12, 2016, an engineer named Hua Li fled from a convenience store after a gunman attempted to rob the clerks. After hearing gunshots from inside the store, Li called 911 to report a robbery and possible homicide.
“Houston 911, do you need medical, police, or fire?” Williams asked.
“This is a robbery,” Li explained.
In the audio recording, Williams could be heard sighing before immediately hanging up on Li.
After Li called 911 a second time and spoke to another dispatcher, police discovered the store manager had been shot and killed before they arrived.
On March 13, 2016, Jim Moten called 911 to report two drivers drag racing down I-45, but Williams hung up on him before he could even finish his sentence. Before Williams disconnected the call, she was recorded saying, “Ain’t nobody got time for this. For real.”
After a jury found her guilty of interference with emergency telephone calls, Williams was recently sentenced to community service and 18 months probation. According to officials, a supervisor who oversaw Williams was also placed on a year of internal probation.
“The citizens of Harris County rely on 911 operators to dispatch help in their time of need,” Assistant District Attorney Lauren Reeder said in a statement. “When a public servant betrays the community’s trust and breaks the law, we have a responsibility to hold them criminally accountable.”
Initially facing up to a year in jail and a $4,000 fine for each charge, Williams instead has been ordered to attend a decision making class and write a letter of apology along with her community service and probation.