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Charges dropped against former Pittsburgh-area dispatcher who didn't send ambulance to dying woman

Charges dropped against former dispatcher who didn't send ambulance to dying woman
Charges dropped against former dispatcher who didn't send ambulance to dying woman 04:20

WAYNESBURG, Pa. (KDKA) — Criminal charges have been dropped against a former Greene County dispatcher accused of refusing to send help to a dying woman

A week before trial, Greene County District Attorney Brianna Vanata dropped the criminal charges against then-911 dispatcher Leon Price in the death of Diania Kronk. The charges were filed by Dave Russo, the former district attorney in the county. 

Kronk's daughter, Kelly Titchenell, said Vanata told her she did not feel she had enough evidence to win at trial.

"I feel definitely angry," Titchenell said. "He had one job to do, and that was to call an ambulance."

In July 2020, Titchenell called Greene County 911 to help her mother. Titchenell pleaded with Price as her mother was unresponsive and turning yellow. Price said he would send an ambulance, but then he repeatedly told Titchenell that they needed her mother's consent, even though she could not speak. 

No ambulance was ever sent. Her mother died from internal bleeding the next day, authorities said.

Russo filed charges against Price and three Greene County emergency officials: Gregory Leathers, Richard Policz and Robert Rhodes. 

A judge dismissed charges against Leathers, Policz and Rhodes last year. The judge also dismissed the lesser charges against Price but allowed involuntary manslaughter and reckless endangerment charges to proceed to court

Vanata did not return KDKA-TV's calls and emails on Monday. Price's attorney issued a statement to KDKA-TV that said, in part:   

"Though we understand that the Commonwealth withdrew the charges against Mr. Price, we were confident that he would have been acquitted by a jury of his peers. We appreciate District Attorney Vanata reviewing the file and recognizing that Mr. Price's alleged actions did not necessitate criminal charges. In fact, the Chief Investigator at the time, Zachary Sams, had prepared a memorandum indicating that he did not believe the actions or inactions of Leon Price rose to the levels necessary to facilitate a criminal charge. Further, the memo indicated that Mr. Sams would be recommending that the District Attorney (David Russo) should close the case without prosecution.  Mr. Price continues to maintain his innocence and is looking forward to putting this case behind him. We hope that this resolution enables Mr. Price to restore his reputation in the community as the upstanding citizen that he is."

Titchenell disagrees. It's been nearly four years since she lost her mom. She lives in agony every day.  

"You're (Price) are going to have to live with this the rest of your life," Titchenell said. "My mother would be alive if you would have sent an ambulance to that house."

"You have destroyed my life," she added. "Every day I suffer without my mom, and I hope you don't ever forget that."

Price is still employed by Greene County, according to his lawyer. While the criminal cases are now over, Price, Policz, Leathers and the county still face a civil lawsuit from the Kronk family in federal court.

Titchenell said that Vanata tried to get the Pennsylvania Attorney General's Office involved and then told her about a plea deal. But now, all the charges have been dropped.

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