WATERFORD, MI — When Lacey Guyton safely placed her 2-month-old daughter and belongings into her car to leave her grandparents’ Waterford home this week, everything seemed to be going as normal. That is, until she heard the sound of the door sporadically locking as she made her way to the driver’s seat. The keys were in the diaper bag and the lock was malfunctioning. Her baby was trapped inside and she started to panic.
Frightened of her baby being alone in a hot car on a summer day, she grabbed a chunk of asphalt from the ground and pounded on the window. Nothing. Then a crow bar. Still no luck.
Scared, she then did what most parents would in an emergency: called 911.
She soon found out, however, that was not the solution to save baby Raina; the 911 dispatcher told her they don’t send police to unlock car doors.
“Having only a key fob and push to start car, touching the door handle with the keys inside should’ve unlocked the door and it didn’t. And my heart sank,” Guyton shared in a Facebook post about the incident. “The 911 dispatcher told my grandma to call a tow company because they don’t send anyone out to unlock cars or break windows… I didn’t have time to wait for a tow company as my baby is screaming and getting hotter in the car. So I called 911 back and told her again my 2-month-old is locked in a hot car and asked her to please send a fire rescue just to smash my window. I didn’t care to wait for someone to unlock the door obviously I just wanted my windows smashed and my baby out. Again she told me she would transfer me to a tow company because they don’t send anyone out to break windows or unlock cars.”
After minutes of crying, baby Raina began to quiet down and close her eyes, and that panicked Guyton even more, she explained.
“At this point I didn’t know if she was going to sleep or if my baby was dying,” she said. “Realizing no emergency help is coming to save my baby was the worst feeling in the world. I ran to the back windshield to try breaking that and after two hard hits it finally shattered and I’ve never felt more relieved.”
Guyton I crawled through the broken glass to get to her daughter and cool her down. Twelve minutes later, a tow company showed up.
“It would have been too late,” she said.
According to Waterford police Chief Scott Underwood, the dispatcher involved has been working in this capacity for years and should have known better. Underwood said that she would be disciplined and trained on how to handle calls like this in the future.
The local chief personally apologized to Guyton afterward, but she doesn’t blame them, Guyton said.
“It was solely the mistake of the dispatcher,” she told Patch. “We don’t blame the Waterford cops or the fire department because they weren’t even given the chance to respond since no one told them.”
She said she hopes her story will help a distressed family the next time something like this happens.
“I hope to bring awareness to this so moving forward, if someone calls 911 about a child locked in a hot car, they’ll get the emergency help they need.”
She also hopes to share the most valuable lesson she learned in this emergency: back windshields often break more easily than side windows of a car.
“I desperately wish I would have known that,” she said.
Images courtesy Lacey Guyton
Subscribe to Patch for more regional news and real-time alerts. Connect with Detroit Patch on Facebook.