As his father drove from California to Nevada, breathlessly repeating prayers while wearing a football helmet and navigating erratically down the freeway, a 12-year-old boy called 911 from the passenger seat and told dispatchers he was concerned for his safety .
The call from the young authorities calling “brave” resulted in his rescue and safe return to family members.
California Highway Patrol dispatchers received a call around 5 p.m. on Oct. 26 from a boy who said he was in the car with his father, who was acting alarmingly, California Highway Patrol Lt. Joe Dominguez.
“Um, I need help,” the boy can be heard saying a couple of times on 911, a copy of which was shared with The Times. “My dad is trying to take me to Vegas, he’s acting weird.”
The father and son were at a family party in south Los Angeles earlier that day when the father asked his son if he wanted to go to the park and play soccer, Dominguez said. Dominguez said he left the party with his son without telling anyone. But after the boy got into the car, he realized something was wrong. His father put on a Las Vegas Raiders helmet and told his son they were going to Vegas, Dominguez said.
The boy tried to call the family, and then he called 911.
“I’m surprised he’s letting me talk,” the boy, who told dispatchers his parents were divorced, said at the beginning of the call.
Three dispatchers worked to find the car’s location and even spoke briefly to the father, who didn’t respond to her questions and spoke Spanish quickly and prayed mostly about the end of the world, said Alicia Villegas, one of the dispatchers who answered the call edited.
The boy told dispatchers what type of car he and his father were traveling in, described where they were using landmarks, exit signs, and street signs, and described the vehicles around him and their license plates. They were driving between 40 and 50 miles per hour, the boy said on the call. He once said his father almost fell.
“He was very good, he was very calm,” Villegas said of the boy. “He was brave.” Prank calls from kids can be common, she said, but “when a kid calls their parents, something’s really wrong.
“You can hear the seriousness in his voice,” Villegas said.
At one point, the boy saw officers on the freeway, but they passed, according to the call log recording. Villegas instructed the boy to roll down the window and wave to the officers when he saw them again.
It was around 6:10 p.m. when CHP authorities spotted the car in the Rancho Cucamonga area, Dominguez said.
The father, Luis Emmanuel Enriquez, 32, was arrested on suspicion of drunk driving and endangering the child, Dominguez said.
The boy’s family were called and he was taken home safely, he added.
https://www.latimes.com/california/story/2022-11-28/um-i-need-help-boy-makes-911-call-from-inside-fathers-car ‘Um, I need help’: Boy makes 911 call from inside father’s car