PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — After a 12-year-old girl’s shoe got sucked into the crevices of an escalator this past weekend, her family is calling for tighter safety measures.
Wendy Smith and her daughter Carlee, of Manchester, Conn., were at the Rhode Island Convention Center as part of a group taking part in a cheerleading competition on Sunday. Carlee had been standing on the right edge of the escalator going down when the toe of her shoe got pulled in to the side.
“She was freaking out,” Wendy tells Eyewitness News. “Twelve years old, in a panic, ‘I can’t get my foot out, I can’t get my foot out!'”
As the escalator neared the bottom, two teammates untied Carlee’s shoe, letting her free her foot.
“She could have lost a toe, she could have lost a foot. She’s very tiny and petite,” Wendy said.
Stuck in the works, the shoe’s toe was completely ripped off.
Smith is concerned the escalator continued to operate and didn’t automatically stop. She noted an emergency stop button located at the bottom of the escalator, between the up and down escalators.
In the end, Wendy said Carlee had serious bruising and is now on crutches.
James Demers, the director of security for the convention center, told Eyewitness News the escalator was in working order and is confident safety equipment is up to date.
Two years ago, brushes were installed on the sides of every escalator in the building in an effort to prevent feet from being able to get stuck.
This is the first time something like this has happened since they were installed, he said.
Demers said he will call the escalator’s vendor to see if there’s anything more they can to do make them as safe as possible.
Wendy said her daughter’s story should serve as a reminder to be careful when riding escalators.
“I think it’s very important that some kind of safety measure is put in,” she said.