10 Worst Reasons People Have Called 911


She Reported on Herself

Ever feel the need to teach yourself a lesson? You can do like Mary Strey (not pictured) and report yourself for drunk driving. Strey was arrested. Joe Raedle/Getty Images
Ever feel the need to teach yourself a lesson? You can do like Mary Strey (not pictured) and report yourself for drunk driving. Strey was arrested. Joe Raedle/Getty Images

A Wisconsin woman called 911 from her car to report a dangerous driver, a perfectly reasonable reason to dial the cops.

"Somebody's really drunk driving down Granton Road," she reported.

"Are you behind them?" the dispatcher asked.

"No," she said. "I am them."

Huh, that's a tricky one. It seems that 49-year-old Mary Strey had overestimated her sobriety when she hopped behind the wheel after a long night of brandy and Cokes at the local tavern [source: Time]. Sure, she could have pulled over and called a cab when she realized the blurred reality of the situation, but apparently she felt the need to teach herself a lesson. If only more felons were more forthcoming.

For lots more weird lists and semi-useful information, check out the related HowStuffWorks links below.

Author's Note: 10 Worst Reasons People Have Called 911

Having listened to dozens of recordings of real 911 calls for this article, I've come to the conclusion that being a 911 dispatcher is either the most frustrating or most entertaining job in the world. Sure, you have to answer hundreds of wrong numbers and scold people who call for directions or need a ride to the liquor store, but you also get to field calls from an endless stream of hilarious crackpots. Even better, every call is recorded, so you might even end up on national television asking a man if his messed up Burger King order is really a life or death emergency. If this writing thing doesn't work out, I'm definitely applying to become a dispatcher. I wonder what their policy is on openly mocking callers .... On second thought, I should probably keep my day job.

Related Articles


  • Associated Press. "Conn. man calls 911 over beef about sandwich order." June 15, 2012. (Dec. 6, 2013) http://usatoday30.usatoday.com/news/nation/story/2012-06-15/sandwich-order-911-call/55628106/1
  • Burton, Connor. "Suspects Butt Dial 911 During Alleged Burglary." ABC News. May 19, 2013. (Dec. 6, 2013) http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/headlines/2013/05/suspects-butt-dial-9-1-1-during-alleged-burglary/
  • Crezo, Adrienne. "10 Ridiculous Reasons to Call 911." Mental Floss (Dec. 6, 2013) http://mentalfloss.com/article/29254/10-ridiculous-reasons-call-911
  • Graber, Justin and Bloom, Alex. "Boy seeks 911 help to avoid bedtime." The Enterprise. Feb. 22, 2013. (Dec. 7, 2013) http://www.enterprisenews.com/news/x694775086/Brockton-boy-calls-911-on-mom-over-bedtime#ixzz2LXWBPV5u
  • Harwell, Drew. "Pasco Man Calls 911 to Report His Mother Took His Beer." Tampa Bay Times. May 31, 2010. (Dec. 7, 2013) http://www.tampabay.com/news/publicsafety/crime/pasco-man-calls-911-to-report-his-mother-took-his-beer/1098961
  • Maune, Tess. "Listen: McAlester Burglary Suspect Accidentally Dials 911." Oklahoma News on 6. July 16, 2013. (Dec. 6, 2013) http://www.newson6.com/story/22853025/pittsburg-county-deputies-burglar-accidentally-dials-911-during-crime
  • McIntyre, Mike. "Lundar Resident Faces Charges Over 911 Calls." Winnipeg Free Press. July 21, 2010. (Dec. 6, 2013) http://www.winnipegfreepress.com/breakingnews/Lundar-resident-faces-charges-over-911-calls-98975869.html
  • MSN. "Child calls 911 for maths help." April 20, 2011 (Dec. 10, 2013). http://news.msn.co.nz/article/8239581/child-calls-911-for-maths-help
  • National Emergency Number Association. "9-1-1 Statistics." (Dec. 8, 2013) http://www.nena.org/?page=911Statistics
  • New, Brian. "Kerrville Woman Calls 911 to Report Husband Won't Eat His Dinner." Dec. 22, 2009. (Dec. 7, 2013). http://www.kens5.com/news/Police-arrest-Kerrville-woman-after-she-calls-911-when-her-husband-wouldnt-eat-his-dinner-79944552.html
  • Reader's Digest. "Outrageously Funny 911 Calls" (Dec. 6, 2013) http://www.rd.com/slideshows/outrageously-funny-911-calls/#slideshow=slide6
  • Sampson, Rana. "Misuse and Abuse of 911." U.S. Department of Justice Community Oriented Policing Services. August 2004. (Dec. 6, 2013) http://www.cops.usdoj.gov/Publications/e07042423_web.pdf
  • Time. "Top 10 Non-Emergency 911 Calls" (Dec. 6, 2013) http://content.time.com/time/specials/packages/article/0,28804,1903486_1903487_1903417,00.html
  • Tonight Show with Jay Leno. "Dealing with the Public." Feb. 7, 2013. (De. 6, 2013) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hDyYaUa1w8o


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