Scottsville Residents Ask for Better Cell Reception in Wake of Derecho Fatality
July 15, 2012 07:43 PM EDT
Scottsville community members are requesting better communication services after a woman died during last month's derecho.
Cate Ford, a Scottsville woman, was killed after a tree fell on her when she got out of her car on Scottsville Road near Keene to try and get cell phone reception.
"First we heard that somebody had been killed in the storm from a falling tree, then we learned it was our Cate, it was just devastating," said Ron Gilbert, a close friend of Ford and a fellow parishioner at St. George's Church.
Gilbert says Ford's car was stuck between two trees that had fallen. She was calling loved ones to see if they could help her out of the dangerous situation, but there was no reception.
"She had no cell phone service and she got out of the car and apparently another person was there and gave her a second phone - and she was attempting to call with a second phone when the tree fell and killed her," Gilbert explained.
Now, friends and members of the Scottsville community are calling for improved communications in southern Albemarle County before another tragedy happens.
Gilbert explained, "The towers been up for about six months and when I spoke to someone from AT&T they said it would take a year or longer to do all the testing that is required."
Danny Hastings, a member of the Scottsville community, felt for Ford and her family and added, "If she would've had regular service, good company then she would've lived would've never had to get out of her car."
They hope cellular providers make service accessible in all parts of Scottsville before someone else gets hurt.
Gilbert said, "This is a matter of life and death and unfortunately we've experienced it right here in our parish family."
Albemarle Board of Supervisor Member Chris Dumler released a statement Sunday regarding the lack of cell phone service saying:
"The board has partnered with representatives from Verizon, AT&T and other providers to update our county's wireless policy to ensure all residents get service."
Cate Ford is survived by her husband Dan and their kids, Megan and Brian.
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