SEBASTIAN – When a woman crashed her car into a tree on the access road to the Sebastian Walmart, employees allegedly didn’t call 911, according to a witness.
Vance Lee, a country singer visiting Sebastian, was heading to Walmart Tuesday morning at approximately 4:00 a.m. on his bicycle when he saw a crash involving a Mercury Mariner. The vehicle hit a tree on the access road to Walmart.
“I discovered a grey Mercury Mariner had jumped the curb and slammed into a tree with one female occupant. She was moving, but after determining that there was no further imminent danger – the engine was destroyed, and I noticed no fuel spill, I called 911,” Lee told Sebastian Daily.
The Sebastian Police Department and fire rescue determined that the woman had a medical incident that caused the crash.
“I then proceeded to the store and asked several employees had they knew about the crash. It was a vehicle into a tree I was sure they did. I was astounded to find they had heard it – possibly witnessed it, but the employees thought it was probably a drunk driving incident and furthermore, they had been instructed not to call 911,” Lee explained.
Lee said that an employee allegedly told him “Sebastian Police charge for responding to the store.”
This upset Lee, enough to contact our news organization.
“She could’ve been there for upwards of 25-30 minutes without assistance because they were scared to piss off the Manager! Oh my, if by chance, I hadn’t come along. Who knows how that would’ve ended,” said Lee.
We then contacted the Sebastian Police department to find out if they charge for 911 calls from the Sebastian Walmart.
“We do not charge anyone for calling 911 … We also do not charge Walmart (or anyone) for accidents or any other calls for service,” Lt. Timothy Wood told Sebastian Daily.
There have been a few reported cases in other states where Walmart employees told customers they were asked not to call 911, stating it was against store policy. However, there has never been an incident here locally at our Sebastian Walmart.
We have reached out to Walmart for comment and will update this story with their reply.
“I think the unnerving part of this story, is that if not witnessed, it was heard by several overnight employees who feared repercussions for intervening,” Lee said.
UPDATE: Walmart responded to our call. They do not have a store policy restricting employees from calling 911, especially if there’s an accident near the property. They are communicating with the witness and will investigate going forward.
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