Woman injured at mall remains in critical shape

June 18, 2002|By Julie Bykowicz | Julie Bykowicz,SUN STAFF

The woman injured while riding an escalator Saturday at The Mall in Columbia remained in critical condition at Maryland Shock Trauma Center yesterday, a hospital spokeswoman said.

Andrea Albright, 24, a Columbia resident who works at J.C. Penney in the mall, had her head wedged between the store's escalator rail and a low ceiling, authorities said.

"We're not 100 percent sure what happened to her," store manager Ken Hornbostel said.

It appears Albright was riding up the escalator about 4:40 p.m. and somehow caught her head while leaning over the escalator rail, a Howard County police spokesman said Saturday. She fell unconscious and was taken to Maryland Shock Trauma Center, police said.

Hornbostel said a state licensing department inspector and representatives from the escalator vendor had examined the accident site, which remained closed yesterday.

A series of seemingly decorative ledges flanks the right wall of the escalator, and there is a 2-foot space between the top ledge and the ceiling. That appears to be where the woman became stuck, though the area does not appear hazardous.

No one has been able to determine exactly what happened, Hornbostel said, but authorities are continuing their investigation. Police did not issue the store a citation Saturday, he said.

The store's down escalator was operational, and to reach the second floor, patrons could use stairs or an elevator, Hornbostel said.

"Nothing like this has ever occurred," he said of the accident. Mall officials also said they could not recall another similar escalator accident.

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