SMITHFIELD, N.C. (WNCN) – One woman was left with no answers after calling 911 when another driver threatened her with a gun on Interstate-95 and then again on Interstate-40 Thursday morning.
During the nearly 10-minute-long 911 call with the Johnston County Sheriff’s Office, the woman got closer to the Wake County line. The dispatcher told the woman the call had to be transferred to the Wake County Sheriff’s Office.
Ok yeah, you’re about to go into Wake County.
Do you have someone waiting for him?
Um no ma’am. I don’t have anyone. They’re on the way, but they’re not going to catch you in time before you go into Wake County.
The woman told our sister station, CBS 17, help didn’t get to her fast enough, and the dangerous driver exited the highway.
The director of Johnston County’s 911 operations center said once an emergency call comes in, a dispatcher determines how to route it based on where the caller is, and what service they need.
“When someone calls 911 and it’s not in one of the municipalities, then we immediately transfer to staff, in the same room, who handles sheriff’s calls,” said Jason Barbour.
Barbour said Thursday morning’s 911 call was handled by the Johnston County Sheriff’s Office.
A spokesperson explained the Sheriff’s Office took the call, rather than State Highway Patrol, because the driver pointing his gun became an assault case, which would be investigated by deputies not troopers.
Highway Patrol ‘s Sgt. Michael Baker says if someone is in trouble on the road, and they want to reach a trooper directly – they can dial *HP.
“When you dial *HP it connects you to the State Highway Patrol which is a local telecommunications center, but they oversee several counties versus just one county,” Baker said.
Baker says to keep in mind this will still connect callers to a centralized hub, so it is similar to calling 911.
“That law enforcement organization is going to work with local authorities or state authorities to try and get a law enforcement officer out there to stop that situation from getting any more dangerous than it is,” Baker said.