State Investigation Complete in Dakota Ambulance Response Incident

By: WIFR Newsroom Email
By: WIFR Newsroom Email
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UPDATE: DAKOTA (WIFR) -- The Dakota Fire Protection District has received the final report following a state investigation of an incident in early April where it took an ambulance more than 20 minutes to respond to an emergency call.

The Tri-District ambulance was dispatched out of its Rock City station and took over twenty minutes to travel less than five miles to Dakota.

In its investigation The Illinois Department of Public Health found there existed "several opportunities to improve response time, by several of the involved agencies."

Since the incident the Dakota Fire Protection District has ordered its mostly volunteer fire crews to respond to any Tri-District ambulance call to make sure crews arrive quickly and there is some help on the scene if another delay occurs.

The Dakota Fire board is waiting for another separate investigation to conclude before it decides what the future of their relationship will be with Tri-District Ambulance Service and Star Ambulance- the company that supplies the EMTs.


ROCK CITY (WIFR) -- Tri-District Ambulance says their crew wasn't told the right place to go and quote made a "human error" resulting in a 20 minute response to an emergency call earlier this month.

During an emergency meeting Monday night at the Tri-District Ambulance Service Headquarters in Rock City the board openly admitted their crew made a mistake. One that they say should never happen and as a result one of the crew members had been taken off of the ambulance. They also openly admitted it's happened before just not to this extreme.

The Tri-District Ambulance Service says the initial dispatch call never said what city the address was in, so crews in a rush went to the first address that popped into their GPS, which ended up being a property in Rock City with a similar address.

And they've had problems where crews have missed their intended destination. Some board members are upset things happened the way they did.

Fritz Kuhlmeier, Tri-District Ambulance Service Board President, is upset things happened the way they did.

"We will take steps to correct any issues that we have with our response times moving forward those problems are not acceptable and need to be fixed and will be fixed."

The Tri-District Ambulance Board says the plan on upgrading their GPS system and putting their staff through more training to make sure this doesn't happen again.

One of the options being discussed is terminating their contract with the company that provides the EMT's.

Tri-District Ambulance says the average call response time is between seven to eight and a half minutes. It took more than 20 to get to this latest call.



DAKOTA/ROCK CITY (WIFR) – People in Dakota are hoping for detailed answers tonight following an emergency call that we’re told took paramedics nearly 20 minutes to respond to.

24-year-old Joshua Langholf collapsed while moving hay on his farm earlier this month and it took a Tri-District ambulance crew nearly twenty minutes to get to his place on North Dakota Road.

Now, folks and the Dakota Fire District are asking how this happened and how they can avoid it in the future at a special meeting tonight in Rock City.

Fire leaders and others in the surrounding communities are waiting to hear why the ambulance took so long responding to the call. Some are calling this an unacceptable mistake that simply cannot happen again.

The dispatch log shows that it took a Tri-District ambulance roughly 15 minutes before they realized they were at the wrong address according to the Dakota Fire Protection District. The district says then the ambulance called fire crews at the scene more than once to ask for specific directions to the farm. In all, it took more than half an hour to get Langholf to a hospital in Freeport where he was pronounced dead.

“Pretty upsetting especially because we live right around the corner. If it took that long to get here, I’d be pretty irate,” said Derek Elgin of Dakota.

“I do believe something needs to change. It may not have necessarily affected a life now, but it may and no one wants that, no one needs that,” said Dakota resident Hope Huff.

It’s still unclear if the delayed response had any direct effect on Langholf’s chances of surviving. In speaking with close friends of the family, they don’t believe he could have been saved still many are worried that when they call for help if an ambulance will get there in time.


DAKOTA (WIFR) -- Dakota Fire Protection District leaders will meet with Tri-District Ambulance Services in Rock City on Monday in an emergency meeting following an incident where it took ambulance crews roughly twenty minutes to respond to a scene.

24-year-old Joshua Langholf of Dakota died early this month from an apparent heart problem according to the Stephenson County Deputy Coroner.

What will be discussed in Monday's meeting is why it took 20 minutes for the ambulance to get to the scene which was just over four and a half miles away from the ambulance station in Rock City.

Dakota Fire Protection District board member Rhonda Artman says here town has faced similar issues with the ambulance service's response times before and is hoping to get "more than just answers" in Monday night's meeting.

The meeting is scheduled to begin at 6:30 pm at the Tri-District Ambulance office at 108 Main St in Rock City.


DAKOTA (WIFR) – A delayed ambulance could be one of the reasons a 24-year-old died on Sunday.

The fire department board in Dakota is asking for the state to investigate the situation. Friends and family are remembering 24-year-old Joshua Langholf tonight during a visitation that lasts until 8 p.m. at the Dakota High School gymnasium.

His funeral will be held at 10 a.m. on Saturday at St. James Lutheran Church on West Grove Road, southeast of Forreston.

A fire board member tells 23 News the ambulance took about 20 minutes to respond, calling dispatch twice for directions when the home was around three miles away. The board plans on holding an emergency meeting on Monday.


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