Texas hotel slaying inspires push to mandate direct-dial 911
DALLAS — A young girl’s repeated attempts to dial 911 went unanswered as her mother lay dying from stab wounds in a Texas hotel room. She didn’t know she had to dial 9 first to get an outside line.
Under a measure nearing final approval in Congress, businesses would be required to include direct-dial 911 on any new telephone system they install. That means there would be no need to dial an access code or additional digit to reach emergency assistance.
“Kari’s Law” was named after Kari Hunt Dunn, who was slain in 2013 when her estranged husband stormed into her hotel room and stabbed her multiple times while her children watched. The 9-year-old girl who tried four times to dial for help sat on her grandfather’s lap in the police station after the attack, and he promised to find a way to simplify nation’s the 911 system.
“A little girl did what she was taught to do, and adults prevented her from doing it,” said Hank Hunt, the girl’s grandfather and Kari Hunt Dunn’s father.
The legislation Hunt has championed through Congress would amend the 1934 Communications Act to mandate both direct-dial 911 and software that automatically alerts first responders and onsite personnel. Both the House and Senate passed versions of the bill this year without opposition, but they both must approve an identical version before sending it to President Donald Trump.