Yesterday, the AP completed an exhaustive review of emergency communications that took place while Bridgegate was underway. The results? As much of a headache as the three days of gridlock on the George Washington Bridge caused, nobody died as a result.
The AP's review sought to identify any emergency situations within a roughly 5-mile radius of the bridge closings where a person's life or urgent medical care appeared to have been directly endangered by stalled response times attributable to the traffic jams - and whoever was responsible for them. The review doesn't suggest who was ultimately responsible for ordering the two lanes closed on the George Washington Bridge.In other words--the people who orchestrated this stupid, dangerous and criminal stunt are really lucky they aren't facing charges of manslaughter.
The 911 records, obtained over several weeks through public records requests, included reports of chest pains, traffic collisions, false fire alarms and a dead goose in a parking lot. Officials in Fort Lee, N.J., the epicenter of the serious traffic problems, have yet to release audio from radio traffic among emergency workers during the week of the lane closures, but the AP's review included the dispatch logs of 911 calls that would have been affected.
Some of the calls highlighted in the review would send a chill down anyone's spine. As early as 6:20 am on September 9, a 911 dispatcher reported that a woman had fallen and cut up her face at a nursing home--and was still waiting for an ambulance an hour after calling for one. By then, the backups were already spilling into nearby towns. At 9 am, a first responder reported that the bridge was "totally gridlocked." Minutes later, a man called 911 to report chest pains. The dispatcher in Edgewater, which handles 911 calls in the area, said that emergency crews were already delayed. This adds to the one near-catastrophe that can be definitively blamed on Bridgegate--the search for a missing child that was delayed because it took time to find officers who could be spared from directing traffic.
The mere fact that such a review was necessary--and indeed, the fact we even had to question whether anyone died because of this stunt--illustrates just how outrageous it was.