An Ohio woman used "ordering a pizza" as code to let a 911 operator know her mother was in danger, and the operator is now being praised for his quick thinking.
The Nov. 13 call came into Oregon, Ohio, 911 dispatcher Tim Teneyck, who was initially confused by the request for a pizza, but was quickly able to discern that the caller was trying to signal for help in an alleged domestic abuse situation, the Toledo Blade reported.
"You called 911 to order a pizza?" Teneyck asks, according to 911 audio obtained by the Blade. "This is the wrong number to call for a pizza."
"No, no, no, no, you're not understanding," the woman says after giving her apartment address.
"I'm getting you now," Teneyck quickly replies. "We'll get 'em going."
After asking the caller if "the other guy" is still there — to which the woman replies yes — Teneyck asks if she needs medical assistance as well. When asked if she can remain on the phone, the woman says no, and repeats that she'd like a pepperoni pizza before Teneyck confirms he's sending help.
Teneyck then told police to turn their sirens off before arriving at the apartment, so as not to alert the suspect of what was happening. Calls to the Oregon Police Department were not immediately returned Saturday.
When police arrived, they arrested Simon Lopez, 56, who allegedly punched and pushed the 911 caller's mother. The mother described Lopez as “disorderly, loud, verbally, and physically abusive," the Toledo Blade reported.
Lopez was charged on Nov. 13 with domestic violence and disorderly conduct while intoxicated and remains in jail, the Lucas County Sheriff's Office confirmed to BuzzFeed News.
Oregon Police Chief Michael Navarre praised dispatcher Teneyck, the Toledo Blade reported.
“He picked up on a woman who was in distress, but was in a position where she couldn’t convey it to him in those words,” Navarre said. “And then he was able to ask her all the right questions without putting her in harm’s way.”
Teneyck told the Blade he worried offenders might catch on to the pizza delivery guise, and advised people calling 911 who are unable to speak freely to at least put the phone down where dispatchers can listen.
“The best thing to do is just have an open phone line and say as much as you can — address and names — until we can figure it all out,” Teneyck said.
Navarre told local TV station WTVG that he'd never encountered a 911 caller trying to order a pizza, but the incident echoes a 2015 Super Bowl ad in which a woman called 911 to order a pizza — and the dispatcher eventually catches on that she's asking for help in a domestic abuse situation.