‘Uh, I need help’: Boy calls 911 from inside dad’s car


As his father drove from California to Nevada, breathlessly repeating prayers while wearing a football helmet and crossing the highway erratically, a 12-year-old boy made an emergency phone call from the passenger seat, telling dispatchers he was concerned about her safety.

The appeal of the boy who authorities say is “brave” led to his rescue and safe return to family members.

California Highway Patrol dispatchers received a call around 5 p.m. on Oct. 26 from a boy who said he was in the car with his father, who was behaving alarmingly, Lt. Joe Dominguez of the California Highway Patrol.

“Uh, I need help,” the boy, who identified himself as Aiden, can be heard saying a few times during the 911 call, a copy of which was shared with The Times. “My dad is trying to take me to Vegas, he’s acting weird.”

The father and son were at a family party earlier in the day in South Los Angeles when the father asked his son if he wanted to go to the park and play some football, Dominguez said. He left the party with his son without telling anyone, Dominguez said. But after the boy got in the car, he realized something was wrong. His dad put on a Las Vegas Raiders helmet and told his son they were going to Vegas, Dominguez said.

The boy tried to call his family, then he called 911.

“I’m surprised he’s letting me talk,” said the boy, who told dispatchers his parents were divorced, at some point early in the call.

Three dispatchers worked to find the location of the car and even spoke briefly with the father, who did not answer their questions and spoke quickly in Spanish, mostly praying for the end of the world, said Alicia Villegas, one of the dispatchers who handled the call.

The boy told dispatchers the type of car he and his father were traveling in, described where they were using landmarks, exit signs and road signs, and detailed the vehicles around him and what were their license plates. They were going between 40 and 50 mph, the boy said on the call. At one point he said his dad nearly crashed.

“He was very good, he was very calm,” Villegas said of the boy. “He was brave.” Prank calls from children can be common, she says, but “when a child calls their parents, something is seriously wrong.

“You can hear the seriousness in his voice,” Villegas said.

At one point, the boy saw officers on the freeway, but they drove past, according to the call log record. Villegas asked the boy to roll down the window and greet the officers when he saw them again.

It was around 6:10 p.m. when CHP authorities located the car in the Rancho Cucamonga area, Dominguez said.

The father, Luis Emmanuel Enriquez, 32, was arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence and endangering children, Dominguez said.

The boy’s family was called and he was brought home safe and sound, he added.


Los Angeles Times

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