Man who survived woman falling on him from 11th story LA hotel room talks about ordeal

Rob Hayes Image
Friday, May 19, 2017
Man who survived woman falling on him from LA hotel speaks out
A man who was critically injured when a woman fell from an 11th-story hotel window and landed on top of him in 2013 spoke publicly for the first time about the ordeal.

COSTA MESA, Calif. (KABC) -- Almost two years ago, a man was critically injured when a woman fell from the Crowne Plaza Hotel and landed on him. Now, he is speaking publicly and exclusively with Eyewitness News about the ordeal.

Vamsi Polisetty, 32, for the most part is bedridden. He's unable to walk or take care of himself. When the incident happened in September 2015, he was standing near the valet area in front of the high-rise hotel, which is near Los Angeles International Airport.

He was waiting for a bus on his way to meet friends in Las Vegas. But as he was standing there, a 51-year-old homeless woman was 11 stories above him, balancing on a window ledge in one of the guest rooms.

A witness said the woman slipped, plummeting to her death and landing on Polisetty. The Costa Mesa man only remembers briefly waking up, surrounded by paramedics.

"I said I couldn't feel my legs at all, what's wrong with me? And they said, 'There's been a terrible accident,'" he said. "My life just changed in an instant."

He soon found out that he'd been crushed by the woman. An X-ray showed that his spine was dislocated and his right leg broken. Four surgeries later and Polisetty said he is still in constant pain and unable to walk.

Attorneys Brian and Matt Easton, of Easton & Easton, LLP, represent Polisetty in a lawsuit against Crowne Plaza. They claim the woman fell because she was trying to hide from security outside the hotel window.

"How does a homeless woman, who obviously looks homeless and has several bags, get through the front lobby, get up a hotel, search a number of hotel rooms and then ultimately find one that's open?" Brian Easton said.

Their investigator shot a video, claiming the hotel's room doors are faulty and fail to lock in many cases.

"It's the simple turn of a screw at the back of the hinge that could have prevented this from happening," Brian Easton said.

Polisetty's lawsuit also takes issue with the hotel's windows, asking why they would be able to be opened, especially over an area where people may stand.

"When you allow windows to open over a place where you've instructed people that this is where they're safe to wait for their vehicles, you impose extreme danger upon them if you allow those windows open," Matt Easton said.

Crowne Plaza is owned by the Intercontinental Hotels Group. An IHG spokesperson would not address the allegations specifically and told Eyewitness News, "we do not comment on active litigation."

Polisetty's attorneys won't say how much they are seeking in damages, but said current and future medical costs alone exceed $16 million.

In the meantime, Polisetty tries to work from home, but can only sit upright for short periods of time. At least three more surgeries are needed, including back surgery to fix the pins in his spine.

"It's like being in hell," he said. "There's only one dream for me and that is to walk again."