MISHAWAKA — Three employees at the St. Joseph County 911 dispatch center have resigned after the New Year’s Eve crash in which a car slid off the road and into a retention pond in Mishawaka, according to the center’s executive director.
Two young children died in the crash.
“We did have three dispatchers resign; no one’s been terminated,” said Raymond Schultz, the executive director of the 911 center.
Schultz declined to give the names of the three dispatchers or say why they resigned.
The resignations come after a minivan driven by Brooke Kleven, 31, slid off University Drive and into a retention pond on Dec. 31.
James Kleven, 4, and Natalie Kleven, 2, of Granger, both died in the crash. Mother Brooke Kleven and 3-month-old Hendrik Kleven survived. On Jan. 14, A spokeswoman for the St. Joseph County Prosecutor’s Office said that Hendrik had been released from the hospital and that Brooke was still in the hospital “at last update.”
On Jan. 2, Schultz released a statement saying the actions of center employees were under investigation. Schultz later told The Tribune incorrect data in the county’s GIS mapping system may have caused a delay in emergency personnel arriving at the scene of the incident.
“We are conducting our own investigation to determine if we can respond quicker and more accurately; we will review procedures to make sure we are as helpful as we can be during emergency calls,” the statement read. “Our review will also include analysis of whether any disciplinary action is in order under these circumstances.”
Schultz said he hopes to conclude the center’s internal investigation by Tuesday and that more information will be available later in the week.
The first 911 call after the incident came from the intersection of University Drive and Fir Road. That prompted the 911 center to dispatch EMS personnel from Clay Fire Territory as the dispatch center’s mapping system “validated” that intersection as Clay’s jurisdiction. In reality, that intersection falls under the Mishawaka Fire Department’s jurisdiction, Schultz said.
According to a recording of the dispatchers from the day of the crash, Clay Fire Territory units were initially dispatched. A dispatcher is heard trying to pinpoint the location of the incident, at one point thinking it’s the nearby Costco. Shortly after, the correct location was identified, and the dispatcher can be heard telling Clay units to disregard because the incident would be handled by Mishawaka first responders.
On Jan. 3, Schultz confirmed one call taker was on paid leave for non-disciplinary reasons in relation to the case. It’s not clear if that employee is one of the three who resigned.