A Pennsylvania 911 dispatcher is being charged with manslaughter after allegedly refusing to send an ambulance to help a woman who eventually died from internal bleeding.
Leon Price of Waynesburg, Pennsylvania was also charged with recklessly endangering another person, official oppression, and obstruction of the administration of law or other government function related to the 2020 call involving 54-year-old Diania Kronk, according to police records obtained by CNN.
On July 1, 2020, Kronk’s daughter, Kelly Titchenell, called the Greene County 911 emergency dispatch after she discovered her mother was incoherent, jaundiced, and bleeding due to a hole in her esophagus. According to a civil suit filed by Titchenell in Pennsylvania’s Western District court, she claimed Price was the responding dispatcher, and that she told him her mother, “is going to die if she doesn’t go to the hospital.” Kronk had allegedly been bed-ridden for days and was reportedly turning yellow and making noises, but Price said he wouldn’t call an ambulance unless he could confirm Kronk wouldn’t refuse medical service.
Price said Titchenell, who was at her boyfriend’s house at the time of the call in Sycamore, Pennsylvania, would have to call back from her mother’s residence to confirm she wouldn’t refuse hospital transport. Kronk died the next day.
The federal lawsuit, which was filed against Price, Greene County, and two other employees of the county’s emergency dispatch center, alleges that Price didn’t have the authority to refuse services to Kronk, and described his actions as, “a direct and/or proximate cause of” her death. Titchenell is also seeking damages related to “emotional injury” according to the court documents.
“I have no animosity toward Mr. Price. I hope he can find peace and forgiveness,” Lawrence Bolind Jr., Titchenell’s attorney, said to CNN. “Unfortunately, what happened to Ms. Kronk must not happen to anyone else in the commonwealth. That is why the civil lawsuit was filed.”
Greene County District Attorney David Russo informed CNN that Price turned himself in once he learned of the charges against him on June 29. He was released on $15,000 bail, and it’s unclear if he’s obtained legal representation.
“The investigation is being expanded to 911 management to see if this was a result of a potential unwritten 911 management policy in Greene County,” Russo added. “No one should be denied emergency services in Greene County or anywhere else. Everyone should have equal protections and access to medical treatment.”
The 911 operator had one job…send the ambulance.