911 Operators Charged With Neglect

Two 911 operators who authorities say did not believe a 5-year-old boy who called to say his mother had collapsed were arraigned Friday on willful neglect-of-duty charges.

Judge Jimmylee Gray entered not guilty pleas for Sharon Nichols 43, and Terri Sutton, 47. If convicted of the misdemeanor, they could get a year in jail.

The women declined to comment afterward, but their lawyers said the operators intend to fight the charges.

"We look forward to coming to court and defending this case in the proper forum," said Sutton's lawyer, David Lee.

No police car was sent after Nichols took the first call on Feb. 20.

The boy, Robert Turner, then called again three hours later, and Sutton sent police out to discipline the child and inform the parent that the youngster was dialing 911, prosecutors said.

Read a transcript of the calls.

When police finally arrived, 46-year-old Sherrill Turner was dead.

Disciplinary action against the operators was pending and could range from suspension without pay to dismissal, police said.


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