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Tuesday, July 16, 2024 | Back issues
Courthouse News Service Courthouse News Service

The Elevator From Hell

HOUSTON (CN) - An elevator in a Chevron skyscraper "skyrocketed" up 11 stories and came to a crashing stop, throwing two women into the ceiling, breaking one's ankle and injuring the other's back, the women claim in court.

Leslie Williams and Victoria Martinez sued Chevron U.S.A. in Harris County Court.

The women say they were in Chevron's building on their way to eat breakfast when the elevator got stuck on the 39th floor.

"Williams used the intercom on the elevator panel to communicate with Chevron's security," the complaint states. "Williams was in contact with security off and on for approximately forty (40) minutes, at which time the elevator car, which was in disrepair, slowly began moving upwards.

"After moving just a few feet, the elevator then skyrocketed upward. The car came to a crashing stop at floor fifty (50), throwing plaintiffs into the ceiling. The crash caused light fixtures and ceiling tiles to fall on plaintiffs, who were thrown to the ground when the car stopped."

Williams and Martinez say they used the intercom to plead with Chevron to rescue them.

"The Houston Fire Department ('HFD') was summoned to rescue the trapped plaintiffs," the complaint states. "Firefighters climbed into the elevator shaft, dropped a ladder through the elevator ceiling and helped plaintiffs climb out of the elevator car.

"Once on the elevator shaft, plaintiffs had to jump on top of another elevator car and then climb to safety. As they were climbing to safety Williams heard firefighters state a Chevron employee controlling the elevator saw the car moving upward and purposely let it go so they could meet the trapped plaintiffs on an upper floor.

"As a result of the elevator crash, Martinez sustained physical injuries to her lower back, left leg and ankle and is experiencing severe emotional stress. She continues to be treated for her back and emotional injuries.

"Williams was taken by hospital to St. Joseph Medical Center for treatment of her injuries, where she was diagnosed with a fractured left foot."

Williams says she suffers from claustrophobia now.

They seek punitive damages for negligence, and want their medical bills paid.

They are represented by Houston attorney Jason Gibson.

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