No charges in death of teen trapped in minivan

Dan Sewell
Associated Press

Cincinnati – A prosecutor announced Thursday no one will face criminal charges for the failed response to a 16-year-old Ohio student who died trapped in a minivan parked near his school.

Hamilton County Prosecutor Joe Deters said his office thoroughly reviewed the Cincinnati police and Hamilton County sheriff’s investigations and two independent reviews that were contracted by the city. Deters expressed sympathy Thursday to Kyle Plush’s family while concluding that no charges were appropriate in the case.

Meanwhile, a special city council committee meeting went over the outside reports on the emergency center and police responses. Plush’s family took part and continued to express frustration with incomplete explanations of what happened and with the slow pace of reform.

“I think we all feel as though there is more work to be done,” said Ron Plush, Kyle’s father. “We need to do this for Kyle.”

Ron Plush found his son dead, pinned in the minivan’s rear, on April 10 – nearly six hours after the first of Kyle’s two 911 calls. The coroner said he asphyxiated from chest compression.

“I have no reason to believe … that this couldn’t happen again,” Ron Plush said Thursday.

City Councilman Christopher Smitherman, who chaired the meeting, pledged to continue working to make improvements. Another meeting on the issues is scheduled for Dec. 10.

The city has already been upgrading smart-phone communications, computer-assisted dispatch, police in-car mapping, and training.

Ron Plush said while the family is “encouraged by the willingness to take a critical look” at how to better the system, they still have unanswered questions.

Two officers sent in response to the student’s first 911 call drove through parking areas around the school, but didn’t get out. Police have said they didn’t have information needed to narrow their search.

Plush’s family suggested all the officers had to do was get out of their cruiser and shout out to other students that they were looking for Kyle Plush, and students would have pointed them toward his vehicle.