"PRIMETIME" EXPLORES THE LIFE-AND-DEATH CONSEQUENCES OF 9-1-1 CALLS
-- A Boy's Quick Thinking on the Phone During a Horrific Attack Saves His Life --
-- Desperate Pleas for Help from a Woman's Sinking Car --
-- 9-1-1 Operators Race Against Time to Locate a Young Couple, High on Crystal Meth, Wandering Aimlessly in a Nebraska Snowstorm --
-- A Look at 9-1-1 Technology and Why Many Cities Aren't Equipped to Trace Cell Phone Emergency Calls --
ABC News' "Primetime" airs Thursday, August 25
In an hour-long report, "Primetime" goes inside the 9-1-1 system for a look at the lifeline on which we all rely. One person who understands the life-or-death consequences of the system is Anthony Sutko, a remarkable little boy whose quick thinking - and, he says, divine intervention -- saved his life. John Quiqones reports that Anthony's father - who claimed he was "possessed" -- brutally attacked him and his mother with a butcher knife in their home near Tacoma, WA. Anthony's mother lay dead and he was seriously wounded with six stab wounds when he composed himself and called 9-1-1. Amid the horror of this bloody attack, the eight-year-old provided authorities with enough information for them to locate his house. Anthony says that, as he lay there bleeding, he heard a voice telling him to play dead until his father left the house and then call for help. "God helped me," Anthony tells Quiqones. "He sent his angel...the angel carried me to dial 9-1-1." Primetime" airs THURSDAY, AUGUST 25 (10:00-11:00 p.m., ET) on the ABC Television Network.
Also: Last summer, a 9-1-1- operator in Richmond, VA, received a frantic call from a woman trapped in a sinking car. Sandy Rawls was driving home from work when her car was swept off the road and into a fence by rapidly rising flood waters. With the electronic windows and doors disabled and water steadily rushing in, Rawls was running out of air - and time. It was then, reports Jay Schadler, that 9-1-1 operator Melanie Word initiated a conversation with Rawls that would lead to a dramatic rescue attempt.
And: When 18-year-old Jennifer Koon of Rochester, NY, was abducted in 1993, she desperately called 9-1-1 from her cell phone. But the technology didn't yet exist to trace emergency calls back to cell phones, and Jennifer was tragically murdered before authorities could locate her. Now that this technology is widely available, critics - including Jennifer's father, a New York state assemblyman -- are asking why several of America's biggest cities haven't paid to acquire it, Chris Cuomo reports. "If this system had been in place and the technology been available, Jenny would be alive today," says David Koon. "No doubt in my mind." "Primetime" visits what is probably the most high-tech 9-1-1 call center in the nation, located in Chicago, where soon operators will not only hear you, they may also be able to see you when you call for help.
Plus: It was a frenzied and frustrating search - 9-1-1 operators and police struggled to locate Michael Wamsley and girlfriend Janelle Hornickel who were wandering aimlessly during a blinding Nebraska snowstorm. The couple, it turns out, were high on methamphetamine, or "crystal meth," which left them lost and hopelessly confused. In a report originally broadcast on March 3, Cynthia McFadden talks with Wamsley and Hornickel's friends and family about how the childhood sweethearts found themselves in this dire situation, and with the operators who did all they could to save them.
DIANE SAWYER, CHRIS CUOMO, CYNTHIA McFADDEN and JOHN QUIQONES are the anchors of "Primetime." DAVID SLOAN is the executive producer.