Police in Brevard County, FL., say a resident dialed 911 to beg them to drive him to his sickly grandmother at an area-based Hooters, in an apparent attempt to perform another “helpful” deed altogether.
Writers for the New York Daily News report that Jonathan Clay Hinkle was charged with one violation of misusing 911 for the prank, a third-degree felony in the southeast state, after first calling dispatchers on March 5 and alleging that he needed to be driven to the Merill Island branch of the notably racy restaurant, to provide aid to his supposedly sick grandmother.
Hinkle, 28, reportedly “told a dispatcher that Gayle Strickland, 79, was having a stroke and that he was attempting to get to her to help,” the Daily News goes on to provide.
“On the call, he [also] said his grandmother was elderly, had a hard time hearing, and suffered from other impairments.”
Police records note that Hinkle promised the 911 dispatch officer that he would pay for any mileage incurred on the the ride to Hooters, and repeatedly “emphasized” the severity of his grandmother’s supposed ailment, to really push the made-up matter home to the emergency operator.
“Mr. Hinkle was in a panic state and was really concerned for his grandmother’s safety,” the responding officer, whose name has not been publicly released, expressed in the police report.
After retrieving Hinkle outside of a 7-Eleven convenience store somewhere in the county, the cop drove Ms. Strickland’s grandson to the Hooters in Merrill Island, as he previously requested.
“As I let Mr. Hinkle out of my patrol vehicle, he said ‘thank you’ and took off in a full sprint across the parking lot and headed west,” the cop noted in the report.
Following after Hinkle not too long after he exited the vehicle, the law enforcement employee quickly noticed that there was seemingly no sign of Strickland — or Hinkle — to be found anywhere near the establishment or the surrounding area.
Police then began reaching out to members of Hinkle’s family in hopes of uncovering the mystery of where he and Strickland could have possibly gone off to, and soon came into contact with the supposed stroke-stricken grandmother herself, alive and seemingly well, and being watched over by a different relative.
According to Ms. Strickland, she had indeed reached out to Hinkle that day for a matter related to some type of transport, but not in the fashion that her grandson had relayed to the 911 deputies.
“Strickland, 79, told [the officers] she had been released from the hospital a few days before the incident,” the Orlando Sentinel continues, “and called Hinkle [to ask] him to pick up his belongings from the residence where she was staying.”
After a three-hour search that night, Brevard County officers ultimately discovered Hinkle helping someone else in need at a Burger King not too far off from the Hooters restaurant: his girlfriend, who had called him beforehand to inquire his assistance on supposed car trouble — and the real reason why he needed the ride.
“Hinkle’s grandmother was [never] at the restaurant and investigators said Hinkle fabricated the [entire] story,” the report claims.
Broward County Sheriff’s Office spokesman Jim Ledjedal expressed to the Journal of Medical Services in 2010 that officers of his department are far too familiar with 911 callers who phone in for ridiculous requests, such as Hinkle’s ride to Hooters, and try their best to remind the public of the importance of the service.
“We generally try to educate people and inform them [of when] their call is not an emergency,” Leljedal specified.
“It’s when we have these outrageous abuses [however], that you have to take action,” he continued.
Brevard County law officials confirmed that Hinkle was popped on Tuesday, June 6, for the 911 Hooters hoax and released on bail the following evening.
[Featured Image by Brevard County Jail]