911 Protocol Examined After Houston Girl's Death

HOUSTON --

An investigation has been launched to determine how the city of Houston responded to an emergency call from a mother who fatally ran over her daughter.

The mother accidentally backed her vehicle over her 4-year-old daughter, Rebecca, in the 2300 block of Cumberland Oak in Kingwood about 4:45 p.m. on Oct. 21.

"Broke down and started screaming, 'I ran over my baby. I need an ambulance,'" father John Woodruff said of his wife's call to 911.

Woodruff said the dispatchers asked his wife a series of questions before transferring her. Police officers and a fire truck with medics eventually arrived and worked to stabilize Rebecca.

"In a situation as traumatic as this, it seems like the ambulance should have come right away," Woodruff said.

The Houston Fire Department has launched an internal investigation into the department's actions and to review a recent change in protocol.

"The first one to go to these very basic calls is the ambulance," HFD Chief Terry Garrison said. "If the ambulance is out, the next closest unit is the engine and the last is the ladder.

Garrison's said the protocol is only used in lower-level calls. He said the department is working to determine if the initial response to the call was appropriate.

"We put the investigation as a high priority," he said.

Mayor Annise Parker said the case is also a high priority for her.

"What we are doing is an absolute routine look back to make sure that we did everything right," Parker said. "If we didn't, we'll say we didn't."

Woodruff said he is not attacking the fire department or the city and he is not filing a lawsuit, but he wants to make sure appropriate actions were taken when his wife called for help.

"We're very grateful for what the responders do, but this protocol just doesn't seem to make sense in circumstances that are this dire," Woodruff said.

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