REDMOND, Ore. - (Update: More comments from family's attorney)
The wife of a man who was gored to death by a yak on their Redmond-area hobby farm is suing Deschutes County's 911 system for $7 million, saying a dispatcher failed to send an ambulance when the man called.
The wrongful death lawsuit, filed last week in Deschutes County Circuit Court, says Brian Wing moaned in pain, but was unable to speak clearly when he dialed 911 from his Redmond-area farm on Aug. 16, 2017.
The lawsuit says dispatchers failed to send help -- even though 13 seconds into the call, the 911 system pinged Wing's cellphone and determined his location.
The suit says Wing's wife called 911 after she found her husband unconscious on their front porch, but he was pronounced dead at a hospital.
Tim Williams, the attorney representing Wing's family, said Monday the $7 million lawsuit over the heart-wrenching turn of events is not only for Wing's loved ones, but for the community.
"It's protection of the community as a whole," Williams said. "I mean, I have kids that are growing up in this community, I have friends and family, loved ones growing up in the community, and it's about protecting them.
"More and more, we are becoming a mobile society, we're cutting the land lines, going with the cellular phones. And if our 911 service can't keep up with that modernization, it just creates a huge risk for everybody."
Wing was gored in the right leg by one of the horns of the yak, which was enclosed in a wire mesh fence and pierced Wing’s leg as he walked by, according to Williams, who represents Wing’s estate.
Nearly an hour later, Wing’s wife, Valerie Wing, arrived home, followed a trail of blood and found her husband unconscious and bleeding on their front porch, the suit says. She called 911 and an ambulance arrived within seven minutes, but doctors and medical staff were unable to save Brian Wing. He was pronounced dead at St. Charles Bend about 10:20 p.m., more than nine hours after he was injured.
Williams said he has spoken to emergency medical staff who treated Wing and learned this was not a case in which he would have died, if medics had been dispatched to that first 911 call.
The 911 system also had records of responding to his cellphone number at his precise home address in the past, according to the suit.
"The reason that's important is when he made that first phone call," Williams said. "He was about a minute or so, they actually pinged his phone and saw that it came back near his residence address, that should have tipped them off that the call was made from the residence address, or very close to it."
Deschutes County 911 protocol states if a cellphone call comes in without specific information to dispatch, the number will be called back and a voicemail will be left if there is no answer.
NewsChannel 21 reached out to Deschutes County 911 about, and they provided a brief statement: "Deschutes County 911 has received a copy of the lawsuit from the estate of Brian Wing. The district is working with its legal counsel from Special Districts of Oregon to evaluate and appropriately respond to the litigation."
Williams called the tragic death an unfortunate circumstance that he hopes can be avoided in the future.
“I don’t have ill will against Deschutes County 911. I think it's a great service, and they are doing, for the most part a very good job," he said. "It's just, sometimes accidents happen, bad calls are made, and this is just one of those instances.”
Wing was 39 years old at the time of his death, and left behind a now 4-year-old daughter and his wife.