The Riverside Sheriff’s Department has said a recent text alert that messaged more than 2,000 people about a 14 car pileup accident on Interstate 10 was sent in error.
That message, they said, was meant to be an internal test of a messaging system designed to disseminate important information to subscribed users who are located in a specific, targeted area. Messages sent through the service may include emergency alerts, community information, traffic alerts and advisories.
A spokesperson from the Riverside Sheriff’s Department said the message had been generated by a department supervisor who thought he was sending the message to his personal cell phone. Instead the text about Interstate 10 being closed at Malki Road was blasted to a much larger audience.
The California Highway Patrol said they fielded dozens of calls from confused drivers wanting more information about the closure. One staff member said so many calls came in that they posted a message on their website to let visitors know the pileup was non existent.
The department has not released the name of the supervisor who sent the message and has not commented as to whether disciplinary action has been taken. They have, however, indicated that in the future, multiple sets of eyes will review messages before they are sent.