breaking news

Accident closes I-75 south between Needmore Road and Wagner Ford 

Across Ohio, children are calling 911 to report overdoses

A sobbing 9-year-old called 911 Sunday with a horrific report: “My grandmas are on the ground.”

The Dayton girl’s call is the latest episode of children begging Ohio dispatchers for help following an apparent overdose — a tragic, reoccurring phenomenon as the heroin and opioid crisis grips the state and the nation. In March alone, children in Centerville, Cincinnati and Cleveland dialed similar calls — at times with fatal news for authorities.

This time, the young girl handled the dispatcher’s questions between sobs as Dayton police and emergency crews headed to the 900 block of Shroyer Road. Though upset, the girl clearly described the scene.

“I was at my grandmas’ house with my two younger sisters, and I don’t know what happened,” she said, noting her sisters ages 2 years and 2 months were also in the apartment of her grandmother and a live-in girlfriend.

MORE: 9-year-old dials 911 after babysitter, girlfriend overdose

“I just heard them falling down, and the next thing I know, I’m panicking because they’re on the ground,” she said.

Leslie Harbarger, 45, and Angela Benda, 47, were found unresponsive by authorities. One was halfway in the living room near the children. The other was in an area near the kitchen and bathroom.

Police first found the children, though.

“We were greeted at the door by two small children with tears running down their faces,” wrote the reporting Dayton police officer in the incident report.

“Ok, sweetheart, you can tell them that we’re here,” a first responder told the child still on the line with dispatch.

The women were taken to Miami Valley Hospital for treatment, cited for endangering children and issued a summons to appear in court. Montgomery County Children Services was notified about the incident.

MORE: Children find Centerville pilot, wife dead in apparent overdose

Benda reported she ingested one heroin cap, police said. Harbarger denied taking heroin, though the report said she “was known to abuse her prescribed medications.”

The unresponsive women were revived with narcan — a total 28 milligrams, cleaning out the fire crews on scene, according to police.

“It should be noted that fire crews used every dose of narcan they were carrying, and I had to give two doses of my issued narcan,” the reporting officer wrote.

Headlines of children calling authorities on their overdosed caretakers splash newspapers and TV screens across Ohio this month.

MORE: Centerville pilot’s likely overdose raises national safety questions

In Centerville, two of four children aged 9-13 called police on March 16 to report their parents were unresponsive. The Montgomery County Coroner’s office suspects Brian and Courtney Halye overdosed on fentanyl.

“They were very cold,” a 13-year-old boy told the dispatcher while his sisters sobbed in the background. A call from his sister echoed the horror that unfolded in their suburban cul-de-sac home.

In Cincinnati this month, WLWT-TV reported another 9-year-old girl told dispatchers she was “scared” when her parents passed out following a heroin overdose while driving.

“They won’t wake up,” the child said.

Before that, a child in Parma, near Cleveland, called 911 when a parent overdosed, reported March 3. The outlet reported it was the third such incident involving guardians passing out with children in the car that week.

Reader Comments ...

Next Up in Local

Michelle Obama praises 'Black Panther' on Twitter: 'I loved this movie'
Michelle Obama praises 'Black Panther' on Twitter: 'I loved this movie'

Former first lady Michelle Obama tweeted a shoutout Monday to the new Marvel superhero film, “Black Panther.” “Congrats to the entire #blackpanther team!” she tweeted. “Because of you, young people will finally see superheroes that look like them on the big screen. I loved this movie and I know it will inspire...
WPAFB Wednesday Weather: On, off rain showers through the day 
WPAFB Wednesday Weather: On, off rain showers through the day 

WRIGHT PATTERSON AIR FORCE BASE—Rain will start the day today with on and off showers lasting through the day, said Storm Center 7 Chief Meteorologist Eric Elwell. Temperatures will be warmer in the morning but fall through the 50s into the 40s this afternoon. A quick break in the precipitation is expected this afternoon before another wave of...
Weeping yaupon, like a living piece of art
Weeping yaupon, like a living piece of art

The weeping yaupon holly is beyond stunning right now. No, the weeping plant wasn’t nuked or genetically modified to obtain that graceful appearance. It was found naturally and native and then simply propagated vegetatively by cutting. Yaupons are native geographically in almost a third of North America. Botanically speaking they are Known as...
Proper name recorded, problem solved

This week a man contacted the Ombudsman Office seeking assistance in having his name correctly recorded with the various programs administered by the Montgomery County Department of Job and Family Services (MCDJFS). The man’s father is alive and well, and uses the suffix Sr. following his name. The man who contacted the Ombudsman bears his father&rsquo...
“School of Rock: The Musical is bigger than Jack Black
“School of Rock: The Musical is bigger than Jack Black

Rob Colletti was a high school junior when the hit movie, “School of Rock,” came out. Now, 15 years later, he’s taking on the Jack Black role of Dewey Finn in the Andrew Lloyd Webber musical version of the movie, which plays at the Aronoff Center throughout next weekend. “I saw (the movie) when it came out,” Colletti said...
More Stories