Woman Strangled by NY Train Station Escalator
LIRR escalator had been slated for replacement
By Rob Quinn, Newser Staff
Posted Mar 16, 2012 1:44 AM CDT
Nine of the Long Island Rail Road’s 71 elevators and escalators are currently out of service, according to the MTA's website.   (Shutterstock)

(Newser) – An 88-year-old woman was strangled yesterday on a Long Island Rail Road escalator that commuters said was malfunctioning for months. Irene Bernatzky was killed after she fell and her clothes became entangled in the treads of the moving stairs, investigators say. Officials say the escalator passed inspection last month after a minor repair, but commuters say it had been malfunctioning for a long time, reports the New York Times.

The escalator's left-hand rail moved when the right-hand rail did not, according to one commuter who has used the station for 15 years. "The arm is the problem because you lean on it and you can tumble over,” he explained. “It’s out of service all of the time." Records show that New York's Metropolitan Transportation Authority planned several years ago to replace the 18-year-old escalator, along with aging escalators at other stations, but scrapped the plans because of budget constraints.

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Mar 17, 2012 7:15 PM CDT
"Escalators never break down; they just turn into stairs...." Stairs that can kill you....
Mar 16, 2012 4:09 AM CDT
Maybe congress will pass a bill like the Virginia Graham Baker Act to prevent this from happening. VGB has cost pool owners thousands of dollars for each pool just because some senators granddaughter was killed in a hot tub which she shouldn't have been in without an adult in the first place. But unless she is related to a congressman, they could care less.
Mar 16, 2012 2:52 AM CDT
How horrible for her.