LEETONIA- Tragedy was averted after abuse of the 911 call system late Saturday night landed a Leetonia man in jail and an officer in the hospital.
Wade B. Spencer, 52, 229 Front St., Leetonia, was charged with disrupting public service, a fourth-degree felony, and obstructing official business after officers responded to his home following multiple calls spanning two hours to 911 for non-emergency purposes. Police Chief John Soldano said an ambulance was being requested at the time Spencer was calling, but personnel were able to respond despite the disturbance.
According to the report filed by Officer Brian Deack, Spencer's first call was transferred to the department at 9:46 p.m. demanding an officer at the residence for a domestic disturbance. Deack found Spencer heavily intoxicated bearing an outdated court order and warned him not to use 911 except for emergency situations, to instead use the department's direct line. Spencer's wife left at that time to spend the night at someone else's home.
Spencer called 911 again at 10:11 p.m. and was again told to use the department's direct line for his issue. At that time he became angry and said he would call the sheriff's office. He called 911 again at 10:39 p.m. to discuss past incidents involving his wife and became non-compliant when told again to stop calling 911.
At 11:29 p.m. Spencer once again called 911, this time impersonating an attorney and demanding information from the dispatcher regarding his situation and Deack. He made a second call of the same nature minutes later and became irate when once again warned to stop calling 911 and to instead use the department's direct line.
When Deack and Officer Rebecca Nicholson responded to Spencer's home to arrest him for disrupting public service at 11:42 p.m., Spencer reportedly slammed the door in their faces twice and attempted it a third time when his bulldog exited and bit Deack on the foot. Spencer's daughter pulled the dog off.
Deack was treated at the Alliance hospital emergency room and was diagnosed with a badly strained left leg, according to Police Chief John Soldano. He will be off until his next shift on Friday, at least, Soldano added.
Spencer was arraigned Monday and will face a preliminary hearing on Feb. 6.