HOUSTON - She was entrusted to help people across the Houston area through their most difficult moments.
So why is the former Houston 911 operator accused of potentially hanging up on thousands of calls over a five month period only facing a maximum of two years in jail?
It’s a question that so many people have been asking, including the callers who feel they were intentionally disregarded.
Crenshanda Williams is charged with two counts of interference with an emergency telephone call. The class A misdemeanor carries a punishment of up to a year in jail and a $4,000 fine for each count upon conviction.
The Harris County District Attorney’s Office is not commenting as to why Williams isn’t charged with more. However, a source told KHOU 11 News that the DA’s office looked at all laws possible and that there were simply no felonies to fit what Williams is accused of.
“A life sentence is not cheap enough for me. I’m country. I think they should throw the book at her,” said Buster Pendley, who says Williams hung up on him back on March 1.
Buster Pendley recalls dialing 911 after his wife of 30 years collapsed in the driveway of their Heights home. Sharon Stephens lost consciousness after a blood clot moved into her lungs.
“Thanks for calling 911, this is Crenshanda. Can I help you? I said, I need an ambulance. My wife just passed out. I have no pulse. I can feel her heart beating but no pulse,” explained Pendley. “She says, okay, and then hangs up on me.”
Pendley said fortunately he had been trained in CPR. He believes if had been depending on the 911 operator, his wife wouldn’t be around today to talk about it. He said it took about another minute to get another operator on the phone. According to Pendley, she understood the dire urgency right away.
Paramedics responded to the home in minutes.
“They started doing a blood pressure check, and it was 0 over 70 with no pulse. She was clinically dead at the moment,” said Pendley. His wife spent about a week in the hospital and couldn’t believe the story about what happened.
“I said, Buster, are you sure that this happened? He said, seriously, she hung up on me,” said Sharon Stephens. “We depend on them, and look, I could’ve died.”
Stephens was outraged to learn about a possible pattern of negligence, including a hang up that reportedly caught Williams saying, “Ain’t nobody got time for this. For real.”
Investigators said one of the last calls Williams hung up on came from a frantic customer a Raceway Convenience Store in northwest Houston.
A gunman had rushed in to rob the store. The confrontation ended with store owner Zia Siddiqui shot and killed.
“I’m just furious at what happened, and it’s taking them this long to look at the records to see what happened. That’s uncalled for,” added Stephens.
Williams is expected in court on Monday.