TROY (WWJ) – A 24-year-old Sterling Heights woman is facing misdemeanor charges after she called 911 for a ride home from a bar because she was too drunk to drive.
Troy Police Sgt. Andy Breidenich said Alana Sims was arrested early Friday morning after a night of drinking at Joe Kool’s Bar and Grill on Big Beaver Road, near John R Road.
“She called our 911 line and our call takers mentioned that it was an emergency line and she basically asked for an escort home,” Breidenich told WWJ’s Sandra McNeill.
WWJ Newsradio 950 obtained audio of the 911 call, in which Sims says “I need an escort to home,” before hanging up on the operator.
“At that point, because it was on an emergency line and we were unaware of her welfare or what exactly the situation was, we started sending officers to the scene to check on her,” Breidenich said. “We also have caller ID so we called her back.”
After a few rings, Sims answered her phone and told the operator she changed her mind about the ride home, adding “I would have appreciated that but you know what, it’s OK.” When the operator asked her why she needed a ride, Sims admitted she was too drunk to drive.
“I’ve been drinking a little much but, I don’t know. I know a few people over there at the police station so that’s why I was calling. All the cabs are too busy,” she said.
At that point, Breidenich said officers were already on their way to the bar.
“Every 911 call, we have to send officers to check on the situation,” he said. “The 911 line is for emergency help. I don’t think anyone could say this was a situation where it was an emergency. Did she need a ride home? Absolutely. But was it an emergency ride home? Not at all, and I think that’s where you have to look at it in a different perspective.”
Once on the scene, officers explained to Sims why she shouldn’t have called 911 and placed her under arrest.
“The charge is a misdemeanor for interfering with police operations,” Breidenich said. “It kind of falls under a wide umbrella of obstruction to police, but the crux of the matter is tying up a 911 line for a non-emergency call.”
“We understand and we empathize with the people who say ‘Well, at least she didn’t drive drunk.’ Absolutely,” Breidenich continued. “We are happy she didn’t get behind the wheel and get in an accident and hurt somebody or herself, but that’s not the issue here. The main issue here is tying up the 911 line for a gratuitous ride home and asking, basically, because she knew somebody, she was asking for a favor.”
Breidenich said officers aren’t trying to make an example out of Sims, but they want the public to know that 911 is for emergencies — and that’s it.
“If she would have tried a better approach to obtaining a ride home without tying up an emergency line, help could have been on the way to assist her. She could have even gone to the bar, they would have worked something out or tried to arrange to get a ride home,” he said. ‘It appears she didn’t exhaust any avenues other than calling one or two cab services who did not have anyone readily available to pick her up and therefore she used the 911 line to ask for a ride home.”