9-year-old calls 911 after parents overdose

Charles Dove and Paula Smith. (Cincinnati Police Department)

CINCINNATI (WKRC) - A 9-year-old girl called 911 for help after her parents overdosed on heroin in their SUV. The parents are now facing charges related to the incident.

Paula Smith and Charles Dove were charged with child endangering after the incident. Saturday, March 18, just after 11 p.m., surveillance video from an auto shop on Quebec Avenue shows their SUV pulling into the parking lot. Sometime after that, the 9-year-old called her grandmother when she could not wake her parents. The child then called 911.

Dispatcher: "Are you parked?"

Child: "Yeah, I'm parked somewhere and I don't know where."

Dispatcher: "It's OK. I'm going to get you some help. OK."

The girl did not know where she was and answered the dispatcher's questions for several minutes.

Child: "Yeah, they're both breathing."

Dispatcher: "OK, OK. But you're unable to wake them up?"

Child: "No, I tried and they won't wake up."

Police said Smith and Dove overdosed in the SUV after snorting heroin. Emergency equipment used to revive them was still in the front seat of the car Tuesday afternoon. The dispatcher tried to calm the girl several times throughout the call.

Child: "I have my cat in here with me."

Dispatcher: "You have a cat?"

Child: "Yeah. I found it on the street and it was all alone and it likes me."

Technology helped pinpoint the girl's location along with landmarks she provided. Ted Bergin, who owns the auto shop, wasn't surprised when he heard about what happened and looked at the surveillance video. He said overdoses have become common.

"They come into the intersection and pull over and they're passed out from overdoses and the fire department comes and puts them back together and sends them on their way, I guess. It's really a big problem we have in Cincinnati," Bergin said.

While covering the story, Local 12 saw paramedics reviving two people in the parking lot of a business nearby.

The 9-year-old girl was staying with her grandparents. Her grandmother told Local 12 News that she was doing well and she hopes her mother gets the help that she needs.

Smith and Dove's trials are scheduled for April.

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