First-Years Injured In Escalator Accident

MBTA mishap sends revelers to hospital

A line of students ascending an MBTA escalator fell backwards and were dragged and scraped Friday night on their way to the Freshman Formal.

At least two students went to area hospitals after the accident, which occurred just after 11 p.m. at the Arlington stop on the Green Line.

According to witnesses, about 20 people were on the escalator when the handrail suddenly stopped moving but the stairs did not.

Jeffrey D. Rakover ’06, who was on the escalator, described the accident as a “domino effect,” with “piles of people being pushed down.”

“There was blood and flesh on the steps of the escalator,” Rakover said.

“Everyone was falling and being completely crushed,” said Laura D. Hallett ’06. “The guy lying on top of me was digging his elbow on my throat, and I was clawing and thrashing at him. It was a terrifying experience.”

Katya M. Golovchenko ’06 received cuts on her ankle in the accident.

“No one could get up because the stairs were moving,” Golovchenko said. “There was nothing to grab on to. We were all stuck lying on the stairs.”

According to Golovchenko, the scene was chaotic.

“I could still hear a girl shrieking down at the bottom of the stairs,” she said. “It was not a pretty sight.”

Virginia L. Borges ’06 was taken by ambulance after the accident to New England Medical Center. She received x-rays and stitches on her leg.

Hallett and Rakover were among those who waited with Borges until the ambulance arrived.

Borges said that she did not start to feel the pain until the accident was over and she was waiting for the ambulance.

According to Borges, she received cuts over a large portion of her lower body—from the bottom of her ankle to about six inches above her knee.

“I was screaming and I had no clue why I was screaming” during the accident, Borges said.

According to witnesses, her cuts had pieces of black thread from her dress ground into them.

Hallett said she received lacerations on her toe, and Rakover had cuts on his lower leg.

Golovchenko said she had a bloody ankle.

When she arrived at New England Medical Center, Golovchenko was told she would need a tetanus shot and crutches.

Borges went back to University Health Services (UHS) Saturday afternoon to have her injuries double-checked, on the advice of Assistant Dean of Freshmen Wendy E.F. Torrance, who had visited Borges when she was at New England Medical Center.

UHS is keeping her through at least tonight to take more x-rays.

MBTA spokesperson Lydia Rivera said that the escalator was taken out of service immediately after the accident. She added that the incident is under investigation.

This is not the first accident known to have occured on an MBTA escalator.

A handrail stopped on an escalator at the Aquarium T stop in 1996, injuring 5 people.

An escalator reversed direction in 1997 at the Ruggles T stop, causing dozens of people to fall down.

Cristina A. Herndon ’06 and Rakover said they believed the domino effect was started by a group of intoxicated students at the top of the escalator.