Ambulance Confusion Took Place Moments After Toms River Native Was Killed

Emergency communications reveal dispatchers questioning location of squad after Dustin Friedland was shot in the head.

More emergency dispatch communications released last week reveal confusion regarding an ambulance's location moments after a Toms River native was gunned down during a carjacking last month at The Mall at Short Hills.

"OK, find out the exact location of squad," a male dispatcher said. "They're still not here."

The ambulance's response time was initially questioned when 911 recordings were released earlier this month of a frantic Jamie Friedland pleading for help after her husband, Dustin, had been shot in the head shortly after 9 p.m. on Dec. 15. Jamie Friedland claimed they had been waiting for a half-an-hour for the ambulance to arrive.

H. Steven Roth, the 2013 president of the Millburn-Short Hills Volunteer First Aid Squad, in a statement released last week called media reports "wrong" that stated it took 30 minutes for the ambulance to reach the parking garage.

Roth confirmed Millburn Police Chief Gregory Weber's timeline of events following the shooting, stating the ambulance arrived at the parking garage at 9:24 p.m. Weber said the ambulance reached the scene 18 minutes after the shooting and Friedland was headed to the hospital at 9:31 p.m.

However, it still remains unclear what took the ambulance the nearly 20 minutes to arrive on the scene.

"All right, where is the squad?," the male dispatcher is heard saying a second time in audio recordings obtained by WPIX (can be heard toward the end of the video above).

"They're stating they're around the corner," a female dispatcher responded.

"All right, we need them to bring the stretcher up to the second level—not be around the corner," the male dispatcher said.

"I'm coming around with the ambulance," a member of the EMS squad replied.

It remains unclear if the ambulance was dispatched from the squad's headquarters on Glen Avenue—about 4 miles from the mall—or from another location.

Roth, who did not respond to Patch's question about the squad's average response time, said Friedland received immediate medical care moments after the shooting from the first police officer on the scene.

An Overlook Hospital paramedic and a member of the Millburn-Short Hills first squad each arrived about 10 minutes after the shooting, Roth said. Weber said the member of the first aid squad was the crew's on-duty chief who arrived in her own vehicle at 9:19 p.m.

The ambulance then arrived five minutes later, but had to stop at the parking garage's entrance due to the 7-foot ceiling. EMS personnel rolled the stretcher loaded with supplies and equipment up the ramp to the second level to reach Friedland.

"From the moments after his shooting, Mr. Friedland was in the care of highly trained people who stabilized him prior to being transported to the nearest trauma center," Roth said.

The Friedland family and their attorney have declined comment.

Authorities arrested last month four Essex County men who were charged in Friedland's death. Karif Ford, 31, Basim Henry, 32, and Kevin Roberts, 35 of Newark; and Hanif Thompson, 29, of Irvington, were charged with murder, felony murder, carjacking, conspiracy, possession of a weapon and possession of a weapon for unlawful purpose.

All four men pleaded not guilty earlier this month.
rightwing January 27, 2014 at 01:10 AM
Are you guys kidding me? This is not shifting blame. The murderers will face justice, but emergency responders have people's lives in their hands every day. Everyone and every action involved should be scrutinized. If errors were made, they have to be rectified. Next time it could be you or one of your loved ones laying there.
Michie511 January 27, 2014 at 06:32 AM
I think this could be the "thugs" lawyers setting up the blame of Dustin dying on EMS so their clients get a lesser sentence. Who in their heart can even defend them to the best of their ability?
Janet Avon January 27, 2014 at 10:12 AM
This was a very unfortunate situation. The fact is that he was shot in the head which gave him a very poor prognosis. If he had a chance at surviving; the response time of the ambulance did not help. However, they are a VOLUNTEER ambulance and therefore can't be held liable for their response time no matter how long it took. Maybe the town needs to look into paying paramedics like many other towns have done. Very sad for his young wife.
molly January 27, 2014 at 08:08 PM
this mall sits less than one mile from 2 major medical centers and paramedics were dispatched as they always are along with the volunteers serving Millburn/Short Hills,Summit etc .
Michie511 January 28, 2014 at 07:01 AM
If they're volunteer EMS & can't be held liable, then why are they "looking into" it? Do they want to blame/sue the town? If the defense lawyers can place blame for the "death" of Dustin on slow town EMS response, then they'll have a better chance of getting the thugs lesser sentences. Let's watch how all this plays out.


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