I-TEAM: Local man dies after no one answers 911 call

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CUYAHOGA COUNTY (WJW) — The FOX 8 I-Team has found a man died after a desperate family called 911, but no one answered at a Cuyahoga County dispatch center. So, we investigated what went wrong.

Last Thursday, just after 4 a.m., precious seconds turned into long minutes as a medical emergency left Vince Frusteri dying. His wife and another relative called 911, but they got no answer.

“What’s going through my mind is, like, how can nobody answer 911?” said Cheryl Frusteri. “I was terrified. I was petrified. It’s 911 for Pete’s sake.”

The emergency happened in Parma. Cheryl Frusteri finally called University Hospitals there, and a recording shows the hospital alerted Parma Police and paramedics.

A hospital worker said in a call to first-responders, “She can’t get through to 911.”

Emergency crews scrambled to the home, but Vince died.

The calls for help should have been answered by a Cuyahoga County dispatcher. The I-Team asked for an explanation from county headquarters. What went wrong?

In fact, a police report shows a county dispatcher called the family back nearly two hours after the family had dialed 911.

Cuyahoga County released a statement saying, “An investigation is underway regarding this incident.”

The county blames the problem on the failure of a power distribution unit for the 911 center. The county also says a dispatcher quickly noticed the system went down and immediately called for a technician from the company that operates the 911 equipment.

But, the timeline released by the county shows, it took an hour and 25 minutes to get county 911 calls transferred to working phone lines.

“I don’t know. I’m heartbroken. I don’t have words. My husband’s gone. He’s gone,” Cheryl said.

The County also wrote, “We are working with our vendors to address the problem so that it does not occur again, including additional redundancies (back-ups).”

But for this family, it is too late.

The county points out, its 911 system is fully operational again. No word on whether or not this problem is tied in any way to other recent troubles for the same system.

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