Emergency crews deal with crank calls<BR>

The Arizona Department of Public Safety and other emergency crews have responded to several calls reporting recent fictitious traffic accidents on Interstate 40 east of Kingman drawing concerns from law enforcement.

So far at least two phony calls have come in from a citizens band radio in the past several weeks.

The calls have also spawned additional phone calls from people listening on a CB.

The calls may be coming from a truck driver traveling through the area or from a private citizen using a CB, DPS Sgt.

Ron DeLong said.

The phony calls relate an accident involving a DPS patrol vehicle that has rolled over or has caught on fire.

When emergency vehicles and helicopters reached the scene on the interstate about 20 miles east of Kingman, nothing is found.

DeLong said that filing a false report to a law enforcement agency is a misdemeanor but if anyone is hurt or killed when fire and ambulances crews respond to a false alarm, a felony manslaughter charge can be filed against the suspect if caught.

But catching the culprit will be difficult.

"The best we can hope for is someone would overhear it and recognize the voice," DeLong said.

Helicopter crews from DPS's Ranger-41, firefighters from Pinion Pine Fire Department, Kingman ambulances as well as DPS highway patrol officers have all responded to the phony calls.

Pinion Pine Fire Chief Joe Jackson said the cost his department endures for a false report is minimal, between $50 to $100 a call not including wear and tear of the fire engines, but a bigger problem can occur if another incident happens while emergency crews responds to the a phony call.

That happened April 2, when PPFD responded to a tractor-trailer fire on Interstate 40 around the same time as one of the phony calls.

A second fake call occurred Thursday, Jackson said.

"In this particular case it did not affect us, but it could have," Jackson said.

"The potential is there to affect the response to a real emergency."

DPS's Ranger-41 is even more expensive costing $500 per hour, not counting the salaries of the three crew members who go out on a medical call.

If anyone has information concerning the crank calls, they should call DPS's Kingman office and ask for DeLong or Sgt.

Tom Kern at 753-5552 or call Mohave Silent Witness at 753-1234.