Huber Heights police took more than three hours to respond to a Good Samaritan’s call to help an elderly man who appeared lost and confused at a Marathon service station, according to police records.
The department has opened an ongoing internal investigation to review the matter, Lt. Matt Dulaney said.
Truck driver Mark Higgins was delivering fuel Wednesday to the gas station on Old Troy Pike when an older man who appeared confused approached him and repeatedly asked where they were.
“Just talking to him, I’m like, ‘something ain’t right with him,’” Higgins said. “It seemed like dementia to me.”
In several 911 calls obtained by the Dayton Daily News and News Center 7, dispatchers tell Higgins officers were on higher priority calls, but did not specify what calls had higher priority. Higgins, who still had other runs to make, asked dispatchers what he was supposed to do with the man.
“They’re still tied up sir, we’re trying to get … someone over there,” a dispatcher told Higgins, according to the 911 tape. “If you need to leave, you need to leave.”
“Seriously, you want someone with dementia to just wander off?” Higgins asked. The dispatcher said no and assured him an officer was on the way.
That was at 10:30 a.m. Twenty-three minutes later, Higgins called back to say he needed to leave the station and continue his route.
“I waited there for over two hours and not one cop showed up, so if he gets hurt or something else, it’s on you guys,” Higgins said in another 911 call. The dispatcher replied, “They’re on a higher priority call, and there’s nothing I can do about a higher priority call.”
Dispatch logs show Huber Heights EMS were called to the man’s home at 11:51 a.m. The victim was transported to Soin Medical Center. Police did not provide an update on the man’s condition.
Word of the incident spread after Higgins made several posts on Facebook. The department responded shortly after the posts.
“We are aware of the Facebook post concerning our response to the Marathon Station on Old Troy (Pike), with regards to an elderly person with dementia,” the department posted on Facebook. “We have reached out to the complainant and we are currently looking into our delay in response. We would like to thank the complainant for his patience and for staying with the individual who was in a time of need.”
In an interview, Higgins said he supports the police but was frustrated with the response.
“I understand they get hundreds of calls all the time,” Higgins said. “Police officers are busy, and I back them up 100 percent, but it’s kind of hard to say they couldn’t have one officer come out.”
Contact this reporter at 937-259-2086 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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