New Mexico Firefighter Sued For Wrongful Death Over 911 Hangup

The parents of a youth who died following a drive-by shooting are suing the firefighter who hung up on a frantic 911 caller because the caller swore at him.

Nicole Chavez and Ronald Silver filed suit last week against former Albuquerque firefighter Matthew Sanchez. Their son, Jaydon Chavez-Silver, a 17-year-old high school student, was shot on June 26, 2015 while at a party. Esperanza Quintero, herself just 17, began cardiopulmonary resuscitation and called 911.

Sanchez was working in the dispatch center at the time, and asked Quintero twice about whether Silver was breathing.

An emotional Quintero replied “He’s barely breathing. How many times do I have to f***ing tell you?”

Sanchez then said: “Ok, you know what ma’am, you could deal with it yourself. I’m not gonna deal with this, okay?” and hung up her.

Albuquerque immediately initiated an investigation and placed Sanchez on administrative duty. Facing termination, Sanchez opted to resign. Thereafter, the New Mexico Department of Health revoked his EMS – dispatcher license.

The suit names Sanchez personally and does not name the Albuquerque Fire Department or the city.
UPDATE: 7/7/17 – A big THANK YOU to New Mexico attorneys Alex Beattie and Paul Kennedy for a copy of the complaint: Silver et al. v Sanchez

About Curt Varone

Curt Varone has over 40 years of fire service experience and 30 as a practicing attorney licensed in both Rhode Island and Maine. His background includes 29 years as a career firefighter in Providence (retiring as a Deputy Assistant Chief), as well as volunteer and paid on call experience. He is the author of two books: Legal Considerations for Fire and Emergency Services, (2006, 2nd ed. 2011, 3rd ed. 2014) and Fire Officer's Legal Handbook (2007), and is a contributing editor for Firehouse Magazine writing the Fire Law column.
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