Woman accidentally calls police in Massachusetts to report car crash in England

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Woman accidentally calls police in Massachusetts to report car crash in England
WATCH ABOVE: Woman in Barnstaple, England accidentally dials police in Barnstable, Massachusetts. – Sep 21, 2016

It reads like a conversation straight out of an Abbott and Costello routine: a woman attempts to inform her local police department about a hit and run, but the dispatcher seems to have no idea what she was talking about.

Turns out the woman was attempting to reach police in Barnstaple, England – and was instead connected to police in Barnstable, Mass.

“Hello, yes, I was driving back from Barnstaple to Muddiford,” the woman tells the dispatcher. “Coming out through Muddiford, coming up toward Ilfracombe, where the sharp bend is and you’ve got the farm on the side, he went over the white line and actually hit the car.”

Needless to say, Dispatcher Mark McWilliams with the Barnstable, Mass. police department is not familiar with Muddiford, Ilfracombe, the sharp bend, or the farm on the side.

“Where are you?” he asks the woman. Getting the same answer back, he tries a different tack.

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“Alright, can you give me a landmark?” he asks the woman. “I’m sorry, I’m having a little trouble hearing you.”

In good spirits, both continue to try to hash out this confusion, as it slowly dawns on them that some sort of mix-up has occurred.

“Where have I called then?” the woman asks.

“You’ve called the Barnstaple Police Department,” McWilliams answers. “Where are you calling from?”

“Illfracombe,” the woman replies. “You’re not local, you can’t be, because Illfracombe is the next town on from Muddiford.”

And then, revelation.

“You’ve called the Barnstable Police Department in Massachusetts,” McWilliams deadpans.


“Yes Massachusetts.”

“…so there’s no way you can help me then is there?”

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Part of the confusion, McWilliams said later, stemmed from the woman’s strong British accent.

“I just couldn’t understand what she was saying,” McWilliams later told told NECN News. “I didn’t know if she was saying Burger King. She has an accent.”

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With the realization of the mistake having set in, both parties had a laugh about the mix-up.

“I’m sorry ma’am, but our response time is going to be about six hours,” McWilliams joked.

The woman later told the BBC the mix-up occurred when she asked Cortana – a digital assistant similar to Apple’s Siri – to dial the number for “the Barnstaple Police Department” and instead got the US, not the UK, version.

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