FORT LAUDERDALE (CBSMiami) – CBS4 News first reported in July that two Coral Springs 911 dispatchers were suspended for 8 hours for failing to properly input information about a wrong way driver on the Sawgrass Expressway into the city’s communication system.
The families of Kaitlyn Ferrante and Marisa Catronio were outraged and demanded action.
On Friday, Gary Catronio, Marisa’s father, said he recently had a productive informal meeting with the Coral Springs Chief of Police, Tony Pustizzi.
“I felt a lot of sincerity in the chief’s words in speaking to us,” Catronio told CBS4’s Carey Codd.
The families’ are learning that the Coral Springs Police Department has made changes to the way calls for service are handled on the Sawgrass Expressway. That’s where the Florida Highway Patrol says Kayla Mendoza drove drunk and the wrong way, slamming into a car with Ferrante and Catronio inside — killing them. The city says they will now respond to all calls for service on the Expressway.
“They were going to dispatch units a lot quicker,” Catonio said. “Because of jurisdictions, (police) had to wait for — it was the Florida Highway Patrol. They had to wait to go because it’s (FHP’s) highway.”
What outraged the families was the way 911 calls from the night of crash were handled by dispatchers, handing the calls off to FHP.
CALLER: “I’m on the Sawgrass and there’s a guy driving on the other side of the road.”
911 DISPATCHER: “Ok. Let me give you the number for Florida Highway Patrol.”
Christine Ferrante — Kaitlyn’s mother — is sending a letter to the chief of police to express her concern over the way the city disciplined the dispatcher’s who handled the 911 calls the night of the crash.
“I feel that the city should be accountable and 8 hours pay is not taking responsibility at all,” Ferrante said. “It’s basically saying that our daughters’ lives is worth an hour pay of a dispatcher.”
“Ferrante says the families simply want to protect the public.
“They realize that there was a delay that night and I know I can speak for the Catronio’s and myself that we don’t’ want another family to go thru those ever, ever again,” she said. “That’s our main concern.”
The families told CBS4 News today that they expect to have a formal meeting with the Coral Springs Police Chief in the near future to discuss the changes.
A spokesperson for the Coral Springs Police Department that they are working with the Florida Highway Patrol on the specifics of handling calls for service on the Sawgrass Expressway.
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