Did Delayed Response Contribute to Worker’s Death?
KANSAS CITY — The family of a murdered AT&T technician can’t help but wonder if he’d be alive today if rescuers had gotten to him sooner. Kevin Mashburn,58, died from a head wound after authorities say he had been clubbed over the head with a crowbar while on the job in Gladstone.
FOX 4 News has learned that in the final moments of his life, Mashburn’s text messages pleading for help were received hundreds of miles away from Kansas City, by AT&T dispatchers in Dallas. That may help explain why it took police nearly an hour to get to him after the first message was sent.
“It seemed like a significant amount of time,” said the victim’s son, William Mashburn. “You could only wonder if that could have been different.”
As the 41-year veteran of AT&T sat in his truck bleeding from a head injury, he sent a text message to dispatchers in Dallas at 2:52 a.m., saying, “I need you to call me an ambulance.”
According to court documents, it took Texas-based dispatchers nearly 10 minutes to respond to that plea. And another 40 minutes for Gladstone public safety officers to get to Mashburn.
“I can’t help but wonder if that lag could have made a difference,” his son said. “I’m not in any position right now to start criticizing or asking things like that. At this point, what’s done is done.”
William Mashburn says he’s heard the questions raised concerning why his dad sent messages to dispatchers hundreds of miles away instead of calling police directly. He says he’s not surprised his father used his mobile data terminal to seek help, because that was one of his primary tools on the job.
“If you could try to keep in mind it was a pretty severe head injury,” William Mashburn said. “Maybe the ability to speak wasn’t there. Maybe the phone was dislodged during any confrontation or something so, there’s a lot of questions we don’t have answers to, if people could be a little sensitive to that, we’d appreciate it.”
Mashburn’s union, the Communications Workers of America, is calling for a safety review following his death. The union says it wants to find out what went wrong. Union leader Joe Blanco says all AT&T vehicles have GPS locators that should have made finding Mashburn a snap.
“It’s disheartening because I don’t know how accurate the GPS is,” said Blanco, president of CWA Local 6360. “But I do know that in times before, they haven’t had any difficulty finding us so I don’t know if it was coordination between authorities and our dispatch center or what, but there was a communication breakdown maybe, and that’s one of the processes that needs to be fixed.”
Gladstone Public Safety Capt. Jeff Self did not have an explanation for why it may have taken so long to reach Mashburn. Self says his department is focused on building the case against Bryan Middlemas, the man charged with killing Mashburn.