EXCLUSIVE: Senator sounds off on rant, illness and 911 call - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Donna Davis reports

EXCLUSIVE: Senator sounds off on rant, illness and 911 call

Action News 5's Donna Davis spoke exclusively with State Senator Ophelia Ford who explained her outburst at a Capitol Hill hearing Monday. Ford also explains why she collapsed the next day at a hotel bar, and what she thinks about constituents who say her problems are not health-related.

It all began with an outburst Monday in Nashville.

Senator Ford says she hasn't been feeling well but that there was nothing strange about her statements at Monday's Department of Children's Services hearing.

"My reaction the other day was normal because people don't know how many children are dying," says Ford.

But lawmakers say that was not the topic of Monday's hearing.

Ford adds, "it was, just because of the ignorance of the, what do you call your people?"

Ford was asked about the newly released 911 call, where the caller says Ford fell off a hotel bar chair the day after the rant.

Ford says she was not intoxicated.

"I might have a glass of wine, but that ain't true. My problem is blood related," insists Ford. "I'm called a chromic anemic, and I'm not eating. I'm not eating well."

Ford insists she fell off the barstool because of her anemia and not eating properly.

She says she was in the bar but only to get soup.

As for complaints from constituents who say they cannot reach her in Memphis or Nashville, Ford says, "I don't know. I have no idea why they can't reach me." "Check with my legislative assistant. I have argued with him, and scolded him. You can't think that you can protect me. You can't protect me. You gotta tell me about everything that comes through my office," Ford explains.

And to people who speculate the Senator has a problem with alcohol, the Senator says, "I'm sorry. They a damn lie is what they are. Okay, listen, they a damn lie."

Strong words from Senator Ford.


Tonight, we have the 911 call made moments after Tennessee State Senator Ophelia Ford collapsed at a Nashville hotel.

The caller claims Ford was intoxicated.

The 911 call came from an employee at the Sheraton Hotel in downtown Nashville. The caller claims Ford had been drinking and fell off a barstool.

Ophelia Ford shocked her colleagues Wednesday when she lost her cool on Capitol Hill.

"What you're saying to me is absolutely dumb," she exploded on Monday.

Hours after the outburst Ford was rushed to the hospital.

The 911 call came from an employee at the Sheraton Hotel in downtown Nashville.

Dispatcher: Metro Nashville Police and Fire.

Caller: Hey, this is Jeff at the Sheraton Hotel Downtown Nashville.

Dispatcher: Yes sir.

Caller: Um, I have uh, I need someone to come and take a look at one of our guests they took a fall out of one of our bar chairs upstairs in the concierge lounge on the 24th floor.

The caller said Ford had fallen about 20 minutes earlier.

Dispatcher: And you think they need an ambulance?

Caller: Well I don't necessarily know she's, she's extremely intoxicated so I can't tell.

Dispatcher: What caused the fall?

Caller: Um, intoxication.

Dispatcher: She completely alert?

Caller: She is.

Dispatcher: She breathing normally?

Caller: Yes she is.

Dispatcher: What part of the body was injured?

Caller: Uh, she landed on her upper back neck area.

The dispatcher then tells the caller not to move Ford unless she's in danger.

Dispatcher: Just let her rest in the most comfortable position and wait for help to arrive.

Caller: Okay.

Of course, Ford has said she has been ill in the past and though Ford's name was never mentioned on the 911 call, two sources confirmed to our sister station in Nashville it was Ford.

Our own Donna Davis spoke to the state senator today as well.

She admits to falling off the bar chair, but told Davis that it was her health condition that caused the fall.

Ophelia Ford: Due to low blood.

Donna Davis: So you're saying you fell off the bar stool because of your anemia?

Ford: Yes, and not eating.

Davis: But you were in the bar?

Ford: Yes, I was in the bar. But I go down to that sessions bar to get me some soup.

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