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back to article Staten Island manhole swallows texting teen

A Staten Island teen paid an unexpected visit to the borough's sewer system after falling down a manhole while texting, Staten Island Advance reports. Alexa Longueira, 15, was walking with a chum last week when the unattended aperture swallowed her. She recounted: "She literally just handed me the phone and I opened it [and] I …

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WTF?

Sanity Check...

Sorry but lets get this straight... she was so engrossed in texting that she missed a bloody great hole in the pavement/road - how would placing another obsticle there for her to trip over help?

If she had gone down the hole head first she may not have been able to walk away... Same goes for a visually impaired person.

If i happened to fall down a sewer (due to my own lack of attention) I would rather do it feet first!

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Just a second?

There is a procedure around lifting a manhole cover, and it does not involve doing it and leaving it open and unattended...end of story. OSHA regulations in the US state "constantly attended if not guarded by removable standard railings." Cones don't do it folks. You watch guys in any city, in most countries and they have the railings up BEFORE they lift the cover. I am not sure what I think about a lawsuit in this case since the damage was luckily minor, but the people involved are likely already fired with cause. Next time you are distracted walking down the street, think about how you take the surface upon which you are walking for granted when you look in a shop window or turn to talk. I generally watch where I walk (especially in cities with no dog sh!t laws)...but I do not ALWAYS watch where I walk.

Google - Bing -Yahoo! or whatever if you want for "osha manhole covers" and try to find a leg to stand on if you disagree with anything written there. Not sure what any reader's local occupational health organization is, but it probably reads about the same.

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Title

"The thing's hollow—it goes on forever—and—oh my God—it's full of turds!"

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FAIL

Putrid?

The thing which impresses me most is the way it's the mother who is able to provide a description of the bottom of the manhole rather than the girl who fell down it.

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Coat

Darwin/Murphy Reunion

Just think...if they had cones there already, the story would be about a teen scraping her nose on the pavement after tripping over the cone while texting............

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Paris Hilton

@AJ, @John Curry

Anonymous John: very cool.

John Curry: I actually believe a mentally or physically disabled person would have an advantage over this young woman.

As for suing, considering how very few municipalities and states are actually staying afloat right now, they will be lucky to receive anything from a judgment. With any luck the case will get a jury or a judge which correctly divides the blame between the two parties: the crew for not properly marking the area around the manhole cover, and the silly twit for tweating and not paying attention to where she placed her feet.

*sigh* I wonder if anyone has ever sued to get sidewalk lamp posts painted fluorescent orange because s/he walked into one and felt too stupid to take responsibility.

RESPONSIBILITY NO! LIABILITY YES!

Paris, improperly marked manhole.

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Silver badge
Big Brother

Building character.

One open manhole at a time. I hope the lass has learned something from this and that it isn't which speed dial button is for the lawyer.

Clearly the DEP boys should have rushed over, grabbed the girl, called the cops and pressed trespassing charges. Perhaps if they are smart they will as a counter to the "I for one, am shocked" lawsuit the mum is planning. Yes, yes, the DEP workers made a mistake; but careless, unthinking and untrained falls far short of negligent which is undoubtedly what the mum is going to cry. At some point folks need to be responsible for themselves so I don't see what is wrong with expecting a modicum of attention from people walking down the street. Then again, being mostly a country bumpkin I'm accustomed to watch where I'm going since you never know where a gopher hole, dead tree or steaming pile of shit is going to turn up.

Heck, my folks would have sent me straight back to the scene, dirty clothes and all, to apologize to the men for getting in their way and causing a disruption and ask to go back in to find my other shoe. Only then would I be told to wash my clothes, by hand because "you aren't putting those filthy things in my washer", and be unceremoniously hosed off, buck naked, in the front yard before I was even allowed in the house... Ah... good times...

Big Brother because apparently we can't watch out for ourselves.

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Doh! Nuts!

Makes me think of a (hypothetical) Simpsons episode - Homer walking down the street, distracted by a billboard for doughnuts (with sprinkles, of course)... plop!

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Stop

Good for her suing!

By the sounds of it the DEP should have had warning cones up but didn't. For not doing this they should be punished... it makes some sense to let the person it inconvenienced get some money- although given that there's been no real loss they should pay for, for example, a replacement set of clothes and shoes and a full range of medical tests to make sure she hasn't caught anything.

If there was ANYTHING to indicate that the manhole was open- a sign, a single cone, etc- then she shouldn't get anything. Maybe new shoes if it wasn't very clear...

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A subplot

No one has commented yet that the semi-sneakered one was walking with her friend, who handed her the mobile just as they reached the manhole and didn't warn her. Is this attempted murder? Where's Columbo when you need him?

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Anonymous Coward

C'mon, here's how to sue in style!

A burglary victim was told by a court to pay pounds 4,000 damages - to the burglar.

Allotment holder Ted Newbery, 82, shot intruder Mark Revill in his shed near Ilkeston, Derbyshire. Revill was later jailed for the burglary but sued Newbery for damages, claiming that the injuries had been traumatic and had "ruined his life".

A judge awarded pounds 4,033 damages, an amount which would have been larger if the burglar had not been partly to blame. Mr Justice Rougier commented: "To poke a shotgun through a hole and fire it with the knowledge thatt here are people outside constitutes negligence to the point of recklessness."

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FAIL

@Morons

>"So let's just check - had this Manhole cover been left unattended, and let's say someone with a physical or mental disability had fallen down the hole, would you have the same reaction?"

Nah, I would have laughed even harder!

>" It's possible for anyone to be distracted - the fact that she was texting doesn't really make any difference at all. "

It's possible for anyone to be distracted, and that's how accidents happen, and why it's the fault of the person who was distracted. There is a technique that prudent people apply to avoid being distracted, it's called "paying some fucking attention to what you're doing". Not doing so is stupid, and deliberately and wilfully distracting yourself by stopping looking at where you're going in order to look at a mobile, or watch tv, or read a book, or just closing your eyes and walking up the street is *negligence*. If you're going to stop paying attention to where you're going because you want to read a txt, just STOP BLOODY WALKING. Duh!

>" The problem here is that someone left a dirty great hole in the road, unmarked, which resulted in injury, and which could have resulted in something much worse for someone more vulnerable. "

She would have been twice as fucked if she decided to cross a road without looking; are you going to insist that every car on the face of the planet must be immobilised? What if she'd bumped into a lamppost? Saw them all down? What if she tripped over a kerb or a rock? Level the entire planet into one smooth surface? What about if she walked smack face first into a wall? Must we all live outdoors in paper huts?

No. It's not safe to walk around without looking where you're going, it never will be and never can be and any attempt to make it so is futile chasing after an impossible pipe-dream at the behest of a pathetic individual who wants to be absolved of responsibility for the entirely-predictable consequences of their own stupidity.

>" She's well within her rights to sue, in should do. "

The only compensation she deserves is a white stick. That's all blind people get to help them avoid this kind of problem and it works fine for them, why should someone able-bodied deserve special treatment over and above the actually disadvantaged?

There should be spikes and broken glass and bear-traps at the bottom of manholes. That would really have taught her a lesson!

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Flame

Lamerica

"what if it has been a visually-impaired person, a granny or a mentally impaired person*"

Well, they wouldn't have had any problem avoiding the hole. Even a blind person can avoid a hole in the street (well, *especially* a blind person I would say). But not the average Staten Island teen apparently.

You know, if there had been a todler or a blind mentally impaired granny instead of the manhole, she could very well have injured someone seriously. What would the "caring mom" say in this case? Sue the poor granny (with her broken hipbone) for the scratches on her poor daughter's knee?

You know what, I think Mohammed Atta's family should sue the city of New York. After all, they left those 2 big towers unattended in the middle of the path, with no cones, no fences and no warnings whatsoever.

Hey, you know what, the stupid teen's family should also patent "running randomly into obstacles then making money out of moronic lawsuits". They could get hefty royalties from their fellow morons all over the country!

Oh and @ Geogees: "If I fell down a bloody manhole I would never step on another one as long as I live." Erm, that *is* a proof of intelligence. Yes, yes, I assure you. Don't beleive people who say you're stupid, and keep'em coming! "if I ever fell from a bike, I wouldn't get anywhere near anything bearing wheels for my whole life" maybe? "If I ever got a cold, I wouldn't go out of my bedroom anymore til I died"? "If I ever ate something I didn't like, I wouldn't eat anything anymore, ever"? Or do you really mean "If I ever fell down a hole out of not looking where I'm going, I might pay more attention to where I put my clumsy feet"?

*must love the puke-inducing overdose of politically-correct stupidly neutered and borderly "mentally impaired" vocabulary here

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Unhappy

@Alan B

Mothers have been using strollers to clear traffic since there has been traffic. Doing so while texting is just another element to the ignorance of using a pushchair as a traffic stop. Despite the temptation to teach the mother a severe lesson in green-cross-code it always seemed just a tad wrong to take out any frustration on the idiot mother's baby so I've always done my best to stop. It's been close on occasion when a stealth mother will do a fast 90 degree into traffic, but so far no baby deaths on my conscience. Curiously I found they pull the exact same maneuver in the US.

The thing I've always wondered is why they think that a stroller is strong enough to protect themselves from on-coming traffic as well as whether they are all angry ex-lollypop ladies (crossing guards) on a mission to prove their firing was unjust.

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@all the people that say sue

And if she had walked out in front of a car while txting, sue the driver? its a big fricky hole, its like a big fricky car not hard to miss.

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WTF?

ROFL

What a stupid girl. It goes to show how little attention pay to their surroundings. Hopefully the court laughs in her face and tells her to F off. But of course, she will most likely win.

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Happy

ROFLMAO

Bloody hell, I would have paid cash money to see that. Don't supposes her mate caught it all on camera-phone?

No?. I thought not.

Bugger!

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Pirate

Plus ca change...

Fifty-something years ago my father walked into a lamppost while admiring a salmon which had just been removed from the Spey. Mainly it's my mother who keeps the story alive.

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KaD
Grenade

I almost hit a texting-tard

He was listing to his iPod while texting and walking down the street. Walked directly in front of my car when I was in the middle of my green light doing 50kmph. Only by liberal use of my brakes, swerving and application of my horn did the retard manage to survive without a scratch. Should have seen his eyes when he looked up and the only thing between me and him was my drivers side window. Maybe texting is just the next big way to sort the terminally stupid from the genepool.

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surely

the swer company can sue for tresspassing.

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FAIL

Really? They're suing?

Lawsuit happy morons that think every accident that happens signals their "god-given right" to be repaid for their stupidity, not realizing that they _already were_... did I say that out loud?

Personally I'd be more inclined to shout at the "friend" who passed her the phone at the crucial moment just before she stepped off the edge, who was ALSO apparently not paying any attention .

When are people going to realize that if we keep paying people for being stupid, this improves their chances of breeding more of themselves?

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Badgers

Jay Walking ??

I am no expert on city sewage design but normally the manholes are placed in the road (street to our US friends) and as such was she not breaking the law at the time by jay walking. She should nicked and counter-sued, if on the way down, she damaged any municipal equipment.

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Bronze badge

Jay Walking

I am no expert on city sewage design but normally the manholes are placed in the road (street to our US friends) and as such was she not breaking the law at the time by jay walking. She should nicked and counter-sued, if on the way down, she damaged any municipal equipment.

Nope there are man holes in side walks here, some are in the cross walk.

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Re: Building character.

Couldn't have said it better myself.

America's become a country full of whiners who insist that someone else be responsible for their actions and their wellbeing, and it gets here worse every day.

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Paris Hilton

Coneheads

I suspect the cones would not have made the slightest difference in this case, and I believe the case should be tried in a nearby sewage works - guilt to be decided on the lines of Takeshi's Castle.

If Paris went down she'd still come up smelling of roses.

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Stop

Do Teenagers Dream of Electric Sheep?

The workers should have put the barriers in place before lifting the cover, even if they were only checking they had the right location, or whatever. Fdailing that, one of them should have stayed at the hole to make sure some wandering idiot didn't miss the hole (figuratively!) and fall down.

On the gripping appendage, it's about time something made idiots like this pay more attention to what is going on around them - it's not always somebody else's fault, and it is high time someone pointed out to these idiot kids and their parents that the Real World is harsh and unforgiving, and if you do something dumb, something bad will likely happen.

There may not be any real animals left around my neck o' the woods for kids to have ever seen a real, live sheep 'face-to-face' but the oblivious little buggers walk around like they are dreaming of something...

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FAIL

I for one...

...welcome our new manhole-opening turd-friendly overlords. And if they'd care to nobble the titanic bell-end I nearly ran into in Dean Street recently - the one listening to his iPod, reading a book and walking down the middle of the road with his back to the oncoming traffic - that'd be one fewer useless mouth to feed after The Revolution.

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Anonymous Coward

Who's the idiot?

Procedure:

1) Place warning cones and/or gates about site.

2) Remove manhole cover, and do not leave unattended.

Note sequence? Rocket surgery.

I expect there to be street under me when I walk in the street, not cliffs. So do you all.

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WTF?

Hmm

As some have raised above, if this kid was disabled, or blind, than it would be an entirely different kettle of fish. Also, if she had actually injured herself seriously, then damages might have been in order.

She isn't disabled, and hasn't been injured.

So why are the family trying to sue? I just don't get that!

Where I live, a lad was walking down the street, and stepped on a temporary manhole cover, which moved under the pressure. This meant that one leg went down the hole, and one stayed on the surface. Very very funny to see, but caused serious damage to his still standing knee. He could easily have taken it to court, but because the workmen were so helpful, calling the ambulance and making sure he was OK, he decided against it. Why can't that happen in these circumstances?

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Paris Hilton

@ N Chapman & others

Punitive damages make a lot of sense really. You may find it obscene that someone can profit from their own clumsyness, but I just see it as their good fortune. The alternative of companies writing of their own negligence because it's an insignificant amount is far more obscene. This girl could easily have racked up thousands of dollars' worth of medical expenses that the DEP could swallow up no problem. It wouldn't be significant enough for them to start thinking harder about safety, so what's the point? You need to make organisations responsible for their actions to make them act responsibly.

Most people don't expect big holes in the street, so it's not hard to realise that anyone could have fallen into that hole and could easily have been killed - possibly with no-one even realising. It's also not hard to realise that the DEP aren't going to take any notice unless they get slapped with a fine. So some clumsy girl makes some money ... so what? Wouldn't be the first time...

As for the guy who slipped through a temporary manhole cover - seems to me he's well within his rights to sue. It's got nothing to do with retribution, it's simply about being protected if you're hurt through someone else's actions. The law may be different over here, but at least he wouldn't be left out of pocket.

No, this girl doesn't need 100 billion dollars to get a dry-clean and buy a new phone, but her gain is their loss. That's the point.

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Coffee/keyboard

@The Vociferous Timewaster

"I just want to rip her face off and use it as a funny mask for my cat."

One keyboard and a clean shirt, please.

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This post has been deleted by a moderator

FAIL

Idiot

EPIC http://www.theregister.co.uk/Design/graphics/icons/comment/fail_32.png

As pedestrians, we have our responsibilities also - one of them being look where we're going. Serve her right to allow herself to be distracted. She should have landed in the sh*t! That would teach her a real lesson.

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FAIL

Would she have seen the cone?

Just wondering ...

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