In all major metropolitan areas such as Chicago, workers in office buildings and shoppers in malls on accustomed to taking the escalator up or down to the next floor. Such transportation is particularly handy for elderly individuals that have difficulty navigating the stairs. Unfortunately, escalators present particular dangerous conditions on various premises as well.
An 88-year old woman from out east fell on an escalator resulting in her clothes becoming entangled in the machinery. As she was unable to entangle herself the clothes around her tightened and she died of asphyxiation.
There were reports that this particular escalator had broken down a number of times during the past, and there had been talk of replacing the escalator before the economic downturn. One individual noted that the handrails of the escalator did not always move properly and this made it difficult for individuals to keep their balance while riding it up or down.
Whether the various problems with the escalator contributed to this particular accident will need to be investigated. However, it's not difficult to foresee an elderly individual having difficulty navigating such a system - particularly if all of the components were not functioning correctly. Also, investigators or attorneys trying to figure out exactly how this accident occurred will want to determine if any safety features were in place to shut the escalator down in the event clothing did become entangled within the machinery.
We don't have enough information to know if anyone was actually at fault for what occurred here, but it is important to discover what happened in the event future incidents such as this can be prevented.
Source: CBS New York, "LIRR Officials: Elderly Escalator Victim 'Asphyxiated' at Lindenhurst Station," March 14, 2012