Parents of Ohio teen who suffocated in minivan sue city of Cincinnati

Kyle Plush died trapped between a rear seat and the vehicle's backdoor last year, despite making two 911 calls using his iPhone's voice-activated Siri tool.

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By Doha Madani

The family of an Ohio teen who suffocated to death in his minivan last year announced Monday they are suing the city of Cincinnati for wrongful death over their son's 911 calls they allege were improperly handled.

Kyle Plush, 16, died April 10, 2018, after he became pinned by a third-row seat in the back of the van parked at his school and suffocated before officers found him. Kyle was found five hours after he managed to make the first of two emergency calls using his iPhone's voice-activated Siri tool.

While he was trying to grab something from the back of the family's van, Kyle became trapped against the backdoor when the minivan's rear seats unexpectedly folded back on him.

"He provided his location and a description of the van," the suit stated. "He screamed, pounded, begged for help. No one helped him."

The suit, filed Monday on behalf of Kyle's parents, Ron and Jill Plush, lists the city of Cincinnati, its city manager, two officers and two 911 operators as defendants in their son’s wrongful death case

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Kyle first called 911 at 3:14 p.m. ET and told the dispatcher that he was stuck inside his van parked at Seven Hills School.

He made a second 911 call at 3:35 p.m. and provided dispatchers with the make and the model of the vehicle — a 2004 Honda Odyssey — and a heartbreaking message: "I probably don't have much time left, so tell my mom that I love her if I die."

The lawsuit accuses the 911 operator who took Kyle's first call of withholding information on the teen's precise location and alleges the second 911 call was treated as a "silent call," or an improperly enabled call.

The family's lawsuit also blames two responding officers for not properly searching the parking lot despite having access to a GPS tool that could pinpoint Kyle's cellphone location.

"Kyle was alive when the officers abandoned the scene," according to the lawsuit. "Kyle's father, not the police, finally discovered his lifeless body hours later."

The lawsuit also alleges that the city was aware of previous complaints made regarding the police department's Emergency Communications Section failing to locate callers and delaying dispatch in response to emergency calls. It alleges that the city was "negligent, reckless, wanton, willful and deliberately indifferent to the health of 9-1-1 callers."

The city of Cincinnati did not immediately respond to a request for comment from NBC News.

Ron and Jill Plush last year described their son to NBC News as a "very creative, smart person" and praised his quick thinking after he became trapped in the vehicle.

"If you met Kyle, he was just an unforgettable kid," Jill Plush said at the time. "He always had a smile on his face, he was always friendly to people that he would walk by, he had a larger-than-life personality."