Ohio Teen Dies In Van

Cara Owsley/The Cincinnati Enquirer via AP

Family, Friends Mourn Ohio Teen Who Died After Getting Trapped In Van

April 15, 2018 - 5:05 pm

CINCINNATI (1010 WINS/AP) -- Family and friends gathered Sunday afternoon to remember an Ohio teen who got trapped beneath a minivan’s rear bench seat and ultimately died last week, despite calling 911 twice.

A Cincinnati police spokeswoman said an internal investigation continues into why Kyle Plush, 16, could not be found in time to save him Tuesday.

The Cincinnati Enquirer reported Plush was trying to get tennis equipment from the back of the 2004 Honda Odyssey when according to a law enforcement source, the seat flipped over onto the floor of the cargo area and trapped him upside-down.

Plush first called 911 at about 3:15 p.m. Tuesday, saying he was stuck inside a van in "desperate need of help." But he was unable to hear the dispatcher's questions, police said, and a callback to his cellphone after it disconnected went to voicemail.

Records show the 911 call-taker, Amber Smith, tried to follow up with Plush, sending a text message and calling twice, but getting no response.

Responding police drove through the area looking for signs of anyone in distress but saw nothing out of the ordinary in the school complex, which has several parking areas.

A county sheriff's deputy on traffic duty at the school also checked around, police said.

Plush called 911 again at around 3:35 p.m. Police said this time he provided a description of the vehicle as he desperately pleaded for help but couldn't hear the dispatcher. Isaac said the information didn't get relayed to officers at the scene.

"This is not a joke," the teen said over 911. "I'm almost dead."

He asked the dispatcher to "tell my mom I love her if I die."

Police were unable to locate the boy on any of several parking lots of the Seven Hills School complex.

Police said a friend called the boy's parents that evening saying he hadn't shown up as planned for a tennis match. His mother used an app to locate his phone at Seven Hills. They called the county dispatch center, and police said family members then arrived at the unlocked vehicle with the unresponsive teen inside. Police and fire responders getting there just before 9 p.m. were unable to revive him.

The Seven Hills School, a private academy in Cincinnati for students from pre-kindergarten through 12th grade, sent out a message saying Plush had been a student there since sixth grade.

"He was a young man of keen intelligence, good humor and great courage, and this whole community feels this loss very deeply," the school said last week.

Cincinnati police Chief Eliot Isaac called Plush’s death "a horrific tragedy."

"We share in their heartbreak," he said last week.

Honda told ABC News there were no seat-related recalls for the 2004 Odyssey.

"Our hearts go out to the victim's family during this difficult time," spokesman Chris Martin said last week. "Honda does not have any specific information from which to definitively determine what occurred in this incident."

One of the two operators who handled the 911 calls returns to work Wednesday. It is not clear yet if the worker will face any disciplinary action.

(Copyright 2018 1010 WINS. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)