Arkansas dispatchers use Google translate to help Russian man in vehicle accident

Arkansas News

SEBASTIAN COUNTY, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) — A man in a car accident is safe thanks to the quick thinking and quick actions of two dispatchers at the Sebastian County Sheriff’s Office, but this was a call unlike any other.

You can hear a man asking for help in the 911 call.

“We are just the voice and we’re the calm during the chaos when they are freaking out when they are panicked,” said dispatcher Shawnee Haysmer.

Haysmer was that voice of calm Sunday night when Eduard Chiricov called for help.

“It was about midnight and I answered the 911 call and he said he was in an accident and needed a Russian translator,” said Haysmer. “I got on the phone trying to call one of our outside agencies and no one had a translator available.”

She said they do have some people who can speak Spanish, but no one was able to help with this language barrier.

“I had to quickly think on my feet and ask him where he was and I just used google translate on my phone using Russian to English that way I could understand what he was saying and talk to him,” she said.

She also got her partner, Molli Burden, to help.

“I used Russian to English and held the phone up to and got what he was saying to us,” said Burden.

According to the police report, officers also acknowledged having a language barrier with Chiricov when they arrived. Police determined that Chiricov was driving a cargo van northbound on Dayton Road. The van came to a sharp curve and went off the roadway on the outside curve. It overturned in a ditch and came to a stop on its side.

Police reported that Chiricov fell to the passenger side of the van where he became stuck and unable to get out without help.

Haysmar and Burden were able to learn more about his injuries. They stayed on the phone with him the whole time and gave him important instructions.

“I was able to type and be like hey my officer is going to break your window please cover your face because the officers on scene couldn’t get access to that,” said Haysmer.

The two dispatchers said it was just another day on the job for them, but it made them feel good to overcome the obstacles and help someone in need.

“It always feels good to help someone when they are in a crisis and that’s the main part of the job, you’ve got to remain calm and you have to understand this isn’t about you,” said Burden. “It’s about them, they are calling because they need your help.”

“Normally we don’t get the outcome and so knowing that I did was able to help just made me feel a whole lot better,” said Haysmer.

The police report said Chiricov complained of neck pain and couldn’t walk on his own after the crash. He was taken to the emergency room at Mercy Hospital in Fort Smith.

When Haysmer and Burden told their boss about the call, the very next day, they got set up with a professional translator service. So that next time, no matter what lanugauge someone in need is speaking, they’ll be able to help.

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