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Disabled woman dies after falling from escalator at Metro station

October 19, 2012 12:00:00 AM PDT
A disabled woman has died following an accident on an escalator at the Metro rail station at Hollywood and Highland.

According to a preliminary investigation, the woman, who was in her wheelchair, with the help of her assistant tried to make it up a steep escalator last Tuesday. Both ended up falling backwards. Brenda Carter, the 64-year-old disabled woman, died a day later.

"You don't risk that. It is not worth," said Lilibeth Navarro, an advocate for the disabled.

Navarro cautions the disabled community as she also asks questions. The day of the accident, the elevator at the Metro stop was not working.

"It is an issue that comes quite often or is regularly addressed because elevators breakdown," she said. "They are used all the time. I think warning people with disabilities, using wheelchairs, is key to this."

Metro officials say there are procedures to guide wheelchair users around trouble spots. If an elevator goes out, sensors notify the rail operations control facility. Train operators are notified by radio. They alert passengers who then are advised to use the next nearby stop and use a bus to reach their destination.

"We are still investigating to see if all proper procedures were in place," said MTA Spokesman Rick Jager.

As the investigation continues, it is unknown whether there will be any consequences for the victim's attendant. Navarro says that it is critical to work as team in making sound decisions.

"We don't know what motivated them to risk that. They were probably in a rush to get somewhere," she said. "Even if it takes you an hour of delay it is still worth your safety."

Navarro urges the MTA to speed repairs up when elevators go out of service. She said a half day should be the limit and even then people in wheelchairs suffer tremendous inconvenience.


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