Teen arrested after calling 911 about his odd dream

By Saul Saenz, Reporter
Last Updated: Tuesday, September 04, 2012, 4:53 PM EDT
Listen: 911 Calls

Perhaps it was the synthetic marijuana Mark Welch said he was smoking on Sunday.

But when Welch awoke from a strange dream, convinced that everything he dreamed was actually happening for real, he told his parents about it.

When the 18-year-old's parents said they didn't believe him, he decided to call 911 to report the incident.

The call-taker, from the Volusia County Sheriff's Office, briefly tried to make sense of the story before dispatching a deputy to the scene, but was unsuccessful:

911 Call-Taker: "What's happening?"

Mark Welch: "Everything that happened today is actually in my dream, and I want to prove it to everybody."

911 Call-Taker: "What did you dream about that’s happening?"

Welch: "It's all on paper. I wrote it down."

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A deputy was dispatched to Welch's home, near Orange City, and determined the teen was a little confused -- apparently from the K2 deputies said he had been smoking -- but was not in need of medical attention.

The deputy told Welch not to call 911 again unless he had a genuine emergency, and the Sheriff's Office said the teen's parents even hid his phone to prevent him from calling again.

But Welch didn't heed the warning. Deputies said about 40 minutes after the first call, Welch went to a neighbor's house and called 911 again, saying he was still trying to prove something to his family about his dream.

"The officer told me not to call back," said Welch, "and he said if I called back, then y'all were going to take me to court. So, I'm calling back."

When the call-taker asked Welch if he wanted to go to jail, the teen responded, "I have to prove something to my family. So, can you send an officer back?"

Welch then admitted that there was no emergency. So, the call-taker complied with Welch's request and dispatched a deputy to his house -- the same deputy who had responded to the first call.

Deputies say these types of callers do nothing but tie up the emergency dispatchers. Non-emergency callers need to call non-emergency numbers.

"The delay in communications to our dispatchers could be a delay in our response times from the deputies which could be a life and death emergency," said Sgt. Jason Hattaway with the Volusia County Sheriff's Office.

The deputy arrested Welch for misuse of the 911 system, a first-degree misdemeanor, according to the Volusia County Sheriff's Office.

Welch's mother told a judge her son needed psychiatric help. The judge agreed.

Welch was released from jail to an ACT program for psychiatric evaluation. He will then be turned over to his parents.