VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) — 10 On Your Side is questioning the efficiency of the emergency communications system at the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel after listening to 911 calls made during the fatal tractor-trailer crash last week.
As 45-year-old Daawuud Hakim and his tractor-trailer crashed into a maintenance vehicle on the bridge and then plunged into the Chesapeake Bay, witnesses frantically called 911. Callers were put on hold and transferred not once, but twice. In both cases it took more than a minute for them to reach the CBBT police.
10 On Your Side called CBBT Police Chief Edward Spencer with our questions about the delays. He explained that depending on where a driver is on the bridge, a 911 call will go to either Virginia Beach or the Eastern Shore.
Those calls are transferred, on weekdays to the administration office, and then if necessary to police or another department. On weekends, the calls go straight to police.
Listen to the CBBT crash 911 calls in the audio player below:
However, Spencer said even with the time taken to transfer, because bridge police are always on duty they arrive on scene much faster than if dispatched from either city.
But in the case of last Thursday’s crash, maintenance crews who also witnessed the crash called it in by radio and police were on scene within a minute.
Chief Spencer said that on the printed toll receipts you’ll find the number to the CBBT office, so if you’re ever on the bridge and need help, you can bypass 911 and call that number directly.