Family claims 911 operators failed to respond to truck driver's call for help

By Clarissa Hawes, Land Line staff writer | 5/14/2015

The family of a 73-year-old truck driver who was found dead in his truck nearly eight hours after placing a 911 call to Jefferson Parish Communications District in Louisiana has filed a lawsuit against the department.

Family members of Joseph C. Faulk Sr. allege in the suit that 911 dispatchers failed to respond to Faulk’s call for medical help.

The attorney for the family, Kenneth St. Pé, told Land Line that Faulk’s phone records show that he made a 28-second phone call to 911 shortly after sideswiping a vehicle along Interstate 10 in Metairie, La., on Sept. 30, 2014.

According to court documents, Faulk, who drove for Lynn Romero Trucking of New Iberia, La., placed a call to 911 immediately following the crash around 5:56 a.m., after “experiencing symptoms of a myocardial infarction (heart attack).”

Another Lynn Romero driver found Faulk in his sleeper berth around 2 p.m., approximately eight hours after Faulk’s 911 call was made. An autopsy performed by the Jefferson Parish Coroner’s Office subsequently listed the time of death at 2:12 p.m.

Louisiana State Police Troop B Spokeswoman Trooper Melissa Matey told Land Line a day after Faulk’s body was discovered. At that time, Matey said investigators suspected “a medical condition was occurring during the time he sideswiped the vehicle.”

While the initial crash report stated that Faulk “fled the scene,” St. Pé said this wasn’t the case.

“He definitely did not flee the scene,” St. Pé said. “In the disposition of the trooper I think he (Faulk) was less than a mile up the road, so obviously it takes that long to get a truck under control and pull it over.”

Faulk’s family alleges in the suit that the Jefferson Parish Communications District failed to provide emergency services, failed to maintain sufficient personnel on duty to adequately respond to the needs of the 911 calls and failed to investigate the 911 call of Joseph C. Faulk Sr.

“The case is just starting so we haven’t done any discovery or depositions. But we know there is a crash, then a 911 call is made, and they are able to triangulate and know that the call was coming from the immediate area,” St. Pé said.

Matey said a trooper from the Louisiana State Police who had stopped to check on the vehicle that was sideswiped was also hit in a separate crash during rush hour on Sept. 30.

See related story:
Police release name of trucker found dead after Louisiana hit-and-run

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