Police have arrested 911 dispatcher Leon “Lee” Price in connection to the death of Diania Kronk, a Pennsylvania woman who died a day after Price refused to send an ambulance to her home.
According to reports, Kronk’s daughter Kelly Titchenell, 38, called 911 in July 2020 as she drove to Kronk’s residence. Titchenell was worried because her mother had been drinking heavily lately and demonstrated signs of severe mental impairment. She begged Price to send an ambulance to her mother’s home in Sycamore, Pennsylvania, an unincorporated rural area approximately 50 miles south of Pittsburgh.
However, Price repeatedly asked Titchenell to assure him that Kronk would, indeed, “be willing to go” to the hospital if an ambulance arrived. Titchenell told him several times that she would.
“She will be, ’cause I’m on my way there,” Titchenell said on the 911 call. “So she’s going, or she’s going to die.”
Price then continued to ask for further assurance that Kronk would go to the hospital. “We really need to make sure she’s willing to go,” he told Titchenell.
“Ok, well, can we just try?” Titchenell replied. Price then asked Titchenell to call 911 back when she arrived at Kronk’s home. However, Titchenell said she couldn’t locate her mother’s landline and that she had no cellphone service in the area. She also added that she thought another 911 call wouldn’t do any good.
When Titchenell arrived at Kronk’s home, Kronk was sitting on the front porch naked and babbling incoherently. After some coaxing, she agreed to put on a robe, but still adamantly refused to go to the hospital, insisting to her daughter that she was “fine.”
Kronk’s son found her deceased the next day. According to Titchenell, the autopsy states that Kronk died of internal bleeding. She was 54.
“This is unheard of, to me. I mean, they’ll send an ambulance for anything,” Titchenell said. “And here I am telling this guy that my mom’s going to die. It’s, like, her death, and she doesn’t get an ambulance.”
Price, 50, has now been charged with involuntary manslaughter, as well as reckless endangerment, official oppression, and obstruction. He was arraigned on June 29 and released on bail.
Titchenell has also filed a lawsuit against Price, Greene County, and two 911 supervisors, hoping to prevent such a tragedy from befalling another family.
“It has to be very clear throughout the entire state that when you call, it’s not going to be conditioned on somebody on the other end of the phone saying there’s going to be a service provided or not,” said Lawrence E. Bolind Jr., Titchenell’s lawyer. “What we’re trying to do here is make this never happen to somebody else.”
Marie Milie Jones, a lawyer representing the county and the two supervisors, called the situation “unfortunate,” but claimed that the defendants are not responsible for Kronk’s death. She also confirmed that “personnel matters” regarding Price “are ongoing” but did not elaborate further.