ALL NEWS

Department of Public Safety investigating after Amber Alert causes confusion, jams 511 phone line

Nov 21, 2019, 5:39 PM | Updated: Nov 22, 2019, 9:50 am

File: a user on an iPhone. Photo: Shutterstock via CNN

Update: Webb has released a letter from her attorney.

CLINTON, Utah – The Amber Alert that flashed across cell phone screens late Wednesday night across the Wasatch Front directed many people to the 511 phone line for more information on missing 3-week-old Audrey Westfall.

But all those calls overwhelmed the system, with many people hearing busy signals or nothing at all.

Utah Department of Public Safety Spokesperson Marissa Cote says law enforcement directs people to 511 during an Amber Alert when they do not have a vehicle description.

“Unfortunately, we did have the occurrence of too many people calling the line, and so, people did not receive the information they should have,” Cote said during a news conference on Thursday.

Cote says they review what went right and what went wrong after every Amber Alert, and they will study what happened Wednesday.

“We’re going to fix what didn’t go well. It’s important that we’re getting that information out there. We take it very seriously,” Cote said.

However, she also pointed out that other notifications like highway billboards worked without a hitch.

It’s believed Audrey Westfall’s mother, Taylor Webb, abducted her from her grandmother’s house in Clinton, Utah and may be taking her to Modesto, California.

Cote also addressed another confusing Amber Alert sent two months ago that jammed phone lines.

Cote says the “gry toyt” message was sent by South Salt Lake Police who were investigating the disappearance of a baby, who was later found safe. Cote says law enforcement agencies are no longer using shorthand in alerts because it was too confusing.

We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Send it to the KSL NewsRadio team here.

All News

A for sale sign is pictured in North Salt Lake on Monday, Aug. 28, 2023. A new report on Utah’s e...

Don Brinkerhoff

Expert weighs in on home prices in Utah

Home prices in Utah are staying relatively flat however, fluctuating interest rates are pricing homebuyers out.

8 minutes ago

The Federal Trade Commission sued to block a proposed merger between grocery giants Kroger and Albe...

DEE-ANN DURBIN AP Business Writer

US sues to block merger of grocery giants Kroger and Albertsons

The FTC says the $24.6 billion Kroger Albertsons merger would eliminate competition and lead to higher prices for millions of Americans.

46 minutes ago

People experiencing homelessness walk in the street near a winter overflow shelter at St. Vincent d...

Peter Johnston

Code blue bill would open emergency beds at 18 degrees

The legislature is considering whether to raise the temperature at which emergency beds open up during code blue alerts. 

2 hours ago

Rainy drive...

Adam Small

Rain and snow on it’s way to the Wasatch Front

Utah will be seeing rain and snow along the Wasatch Front over the next couple of days. Nice weather returns by week's end.

3 hours ago

Utah capitol clock...

Bridger Beal-Cvetko, KSL.com

These are the biggest unresolved issues as Utah lawmakers enter last week of session

The 2024 Utah Legislative Session will come to a close on March 1. Here are some of the biggest bills yet to be passed.

3 hours ago

Soldiers carry the coffin of Ukrainian poet and serviceman Maksym Kryvtsov who was killed in action...

Stephanie Halasz and Ivana Kottasová, CNN

Zelensky warns ‘millions will be killed’ without US aid to Kyiv, as Ukrainian troop deaths reach at least 31,000

“Millions” could die in Ukraine’s war with Russia if US lawmakers don’t approve President Joe Biden’s $60 billion aid request.

4 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

Mother and cute toddler child in a little fancy wooden cottage, reading a book, drinking tea and en...

Visit Bear Lake

How to find the best winter lodging in Bear Lake, Utah

Winter lodging in Bear Lake can be more limited than in the summer, but with some careful planning you can easily book your next winter trip.

Happy family in winter clothing at the ski resort, winter time, watching at mountains in front of t...

Visit Bear Lake

Ski more for less: Affordable ski resorts near Bear Lake, Utah

Plan your perfect ski getaway in Bear Lake this winter, with pristine slopes, affordable tickets, and breathtaking scenery.

front of the Butch Cassidy museum with a man in a cowboy hat standing in the doorway...

Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

Looking Back: The History of Bear Lake

The history of Bear Lake is full of fascinating stories. At over 250,000 years old, the lake has seen generations of people visit its shores.

silhouette of a family looking over a lake with a bird in the top corner flying...

Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

8 Fun Activities To Do in Bear Lake Without Getting in the Water

Bear Lake offers plenty of activities for the whole family to enjoy without having to get in the water. Catch 8 of our favorite activities.

Wellsville Mountains in the spring with a pond in the foreground...

Wasatch Property Management

Advantages of Renting Over Owning a Home

Renting allows you to enjoy luxury amenities and low maintenance without the long-term commitment and responsibilities of owning a home.

Clouds over a red rock vista in Hurricane, Utah...

Wasatch Property Management

Why Southern Utah is a Retirement Paradise

Retirement in southern Utah offers plenty of cultural and recreational opportunities. Find out all that this region has to offer.

Department of Public Safety investigating after Amber Alert causes confusion, jams 511 phone line