Emergency Call Boxes Unfit for Emergencies

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A Sparks couple faced an emergency at the Sparks Marina Monday night...but had nowhere to turn for help. An aggressive-looking coyote came at them...but when they tried to use one of the emergency call boxes...it didn't work. The malfunctioning call boxes could be a serious problem for anyone who uses the marina.

People who walk around the Marina after dark say that's when they feel the most vulnerable.

Danny Rhyne and his girlfriend walk their dog, Skye at the Marina almost nightly...so when they spotted a coyote less than a hundred feet away, they were surprised to say the least.

"It looked like it was hungry, showing it's teeth, kind of aggressive," said Rhyne.

Rhyne says he stepped away from the coyote before throwing rocks toward it to scare it away...but his girlfriend wasn't convinced. She decided to use one of the emergency call boxes, but when she pushed the button, nothing happened.

"It makes me feel insecure about the whole safety situation. There are a lot of kids, a lot of animals, a lot of single parents running around out here. You don't know if there are stalkers or anything else," he added.

Rhyne says a coyote is one thing...but a criminal coming after his girlfriend or his dog...is something he's not willing to risk. Other people who use the park say they've had similar situations with the boxes.

"It was probably ten 'o clock at night and we saw a man on the ground. He was just laying there on the ground," said Carolyn Mackay of Sparks.

When Mackay tried to call for help, she too had no luck.

"I didn't come as late after that because I didn't feel as safe."

Brian Bessette is the Superintendent of Sparks Parks and Recreation. He says the call boxes worked just fine for the first year and a half...and then started having technical problems. He's working with the company, "Code Blue" out of Sacramento to get the boxes repaired.

"We put them out there because we know it's a large park and it gives people walking piece of mind. We have it a top priority and we should have it rectified in the next week or so," said Bessette.

In the meantime, a lot of people say they're scared to be at the marina after dark...in fear of facing an emergency and having no means to call for help.

Some say the lights installed around the walking path help them feel safer. Also, the city has security guards on bikes that patrol the park until about 9:00 p.m.