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Local Emergency Crews Respond to April Fool's Prank

BEND, OR -- Emergency crews rushed to Alfalfa Market Road Wednesday morning, on the report of a serious crash. But, Sara Crosswhite with Deschutes County 911 tells KBND it was an apparent April Fool's prank that got out of hand. "The caller reported a motor vehicle accident with a female that was potentially unconscious in the vehicle – a single vehicle rollover in an unknown area, so we were just going on the basic street she gave us with no cross streets known. We were just going blindly to the location to try and find an accident that occurred." She says there was initially no indication that the report was fake.

 

The woman who called 911 reported the crash in good faith, thinking she was passing along legitimate information, according to Crosswhite. "We ended up dispatching Deschutes County Sheriff's units, with three different deputies responding to the call.  We also dispatched Bend Fire and they had, it looks like, one or two units responding to Alfalfa Market Rd.  And, at that point, they’d asked us to dispatch Air Link, so we were calling the helicopter to fly up in the air to try and locate the motor vehicle accident."  She says that was when the caller received a text saying it was all a joke, and the woman immediately notified dispatchers about 10 minutes after the initial report, before dispatchers launched the helicopter.

 

Crosswhite says the biggest concern with such a hoax is the danger posed to first responders as they speed to a non-existent emergency during the morning commute. "In the 17 years I’ve been with the agency, I don’t recall a prank of this magnitude on April Fool's Day.  Every once in a while we’ll get people to call in false calls because somebody played a joke on them, misled them- not on April Fool's Day. This was a rare one for us."  She says the county takes false reports very seriously and the Sheriff's office expects to follow up on the incident. 

 

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