Ear Hustle

Florida Deputy Fired After Ignoring Emergency Call To Finish His Lunch Which Resulted In The Death Of The Caller


Photo Credit: WZVN/Screencap

A Lee County deputy is out of a job. He is accused of going to lunch instead of answering a call for help.

We first broke the story last month after the sheriff launched an internal affairs investigation in Deputy Yvan Fernandez.

On Wednesday we got a hold of that report. It lays out what happened on the day Gwen Minnis died.

Investigators say Minnis called 911. Instead of answering the call, Deputy Fernandez went to lunch. By the time he arrived, more than 50 minutes later, Minnis was lying in the grass unconscious.

We sat down with Sheriff Mike Scott about the internal affairs investigation and spoke with Minnis’ family and friends.

According to family friends, Gwendolyn Minnis of Lehigh Acres had just been released from the hospital last March after suffering a heart attack.

Minnis was over at a friend’s house in Fort Myers when they think she suffered another heart attack. Somehow she managed to call 911.

“She was of person…she would help somebody if they needed help,” said Cykecia Russ, a family friend.

When 47-year-old Gwendolyn Minnis needed help the most, it took deputies more than 50 minutes to respond.

“It’s one of those things where it kind of has you shaken up about calling,” said Russ.

According to an internal report release on Wednesday, Lee County Deputy Yvan Fernandez was first dispatched to Minnis’ friend’s home at 1:11 p.m. on March 13th after the county received a 911 call with no voice on the other end.

The report says Fernandez was having lunch with three other deputies at a pizza and wings restaurant at the time, and did acknowledge the call.

Eight minutes later, dispatch contacted Fernandez again saying the call was still open. Fernandez replied by saying “copy.”

It took nearly 30 minutes for Fernandez to tell another deputy to go out to the home on Dryden Circle. That deputy didn’t arrived until 2:04 p.m. – exactly 53 minutes later.

“It’s just kind of sad and upsetting when you call for help and the person who says they’re going to come help, and they actually don’t,” said Russ.

Russ tells us Minnis’ body was next to the front door the whole time. She says Minnis was dead by the time deputies arrived.

The report notes Fernandez was not on an official “meal break” at the time. That would have allowed him to take a break without having to respond to calls.

We spoke with Minnis’ former husband. He says the family has yet to see the internal report. Only then will they decide on what actions to take.

Lee County Sheriff Mike Scott says Deputy Fernandez’s actions were beyond negligent.

We asked the sheriff about any other internal investigations connected to the case. He said the only person who was negligible in this was Fernandez. He doesn’t anticipate any other disciplinary action.

Source: ABC 7

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