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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  1. Anonymous Coward
    FAIL

    Hahaha

    What a muppet.

    absoutly typical however that they "intend to sue". Hopefully they`ll drop the case. gettit...drop...ah.

    Anon for terrible puns.

  2. David S
    Troll

    Darwin must be spinning

    What should have been another triumph for Darwinian evolution is now going to turn into an opportunity for an undeserved cash-grab.

    Deary me.

  3. TeeCee Gold badge
    Coat

    I sympathise.

    "Oh my God, it was putrid. One of her sneakers is still down there."

    My eldest son's sneakers are also capable of making a sewer putrid, must be a teen thing.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    family says it intends to sue

    No surprise there then! Blame someone else for your stupidity

  5. Alan B
    FAIL

    Not surprised to hear this

    Kids and young adults walk along texting without being aware of anything going on around them. Young mothers with babies in pushchairs are the worst. They push the baby straight out onto the road in front of them because they don't see the road, then there is a blast from car horns and a screech of brakes as drivers try and avoid hitting the pushchair. Then the mother screams at the drivers telling them they should look where they are going, when it is the mother at fault.

    I'm surprised there aren't more deaths and serious injuries from this.

    Texting whilst walking should be against the law.

  6. Stephen Gray
    FAIL

    WTF?

    Mum Kim Longueira says the fact her daughter was absorbed in texting "makes no difference". So sorry but that made all the difference! Advise your daughter to try looking where she's going next time.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Lets sue !

    Depressing .....

    Why not just wrap the entire population of the US in cotton wool

  8. Greg J Preece

    Typical Americans...

    "Ms Longueira suffered nothing more than scrapes to her arms and back in the incident, although the Longueira family says it intends to sue."

    Our daughter wasn't looking where she was going and didn't hurt herself. You bastards!

  9. Mike 119
    Go

    meh

    "Ms Longueira suffered nothing more than scrapes to her arms and back in the incident, although the Longueira family says it intends to sue."

    Of course they do, its America. They sue for everything.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    Of course they'll sue...

    Free lunch alert !

  11. John Baker
    Happy

    Oops

    oh wait.... some witless teen txting on a mobile ..... got it..... phew close one!

  12. Anonymous Coward
    IT Angle

    Hmmmm...

    Entertaining but I'm yet to see an IT angle.

    What...? You didn't say we couldn't moan about the lack of IT!

  13. Chris 219
    Flame

    Only in America

    Of COURSE she intends to sue!

    1) Kid doesn't watch where she's going. Kid falls down manhole. Kid's footwear is so ineffectively attached to her feet that it is still in the sewer - either that or she had time to remove her securely fastened "sneaker" while she was down there.

    2) Kid suffers scrapes and bruises.

    3) Mum jumps on the litigious bandwagon even though no real harm was done, sues DEP for lack of foresight and lack of responsibility in protecting her hapless daughter who didn't have the foresight to watch where she was going! Both sides were at fault but hey... it must be someone else's fault, right?

    4) PROFIT!! Oh, wait....

    What "damages" is she hoping to claim, exactly? The cost of a plaster, a pair of "sneakers" and some antiseptic cream? Oh and some Ariel to get the clothes clean. Let's not forget the almost unimaginable trauma. Let's call it $200, tops.

    Is it REALLY worth paying the lawyers more than that and wasting everyone's time when nothing of note really happened? Laugh it off as what happens when you don't pay attention, enjoy the rest of your life.

    The mother clearly has no sense of perspective.

  14. Lionel Baden
    FAIL

    lol

    what a shocker, that they are going to sue for bumps and bruises !!!

    but tbh they prolly should of got the cones etc before opening it !

    and anyway think of it this way Kim Longueira your daughter may not walk into busy traffic whilst textign she may of learnt an important lesson that only cost her a few scrapes !!!

    but funney none the less

  15. mmiied

    there must be some sort of award for

    "They were just, like, 'I'm sorry! I'm sorry!'""

    and

    ""Oh my God, it was putrid. One of her sneakers is still down there.""

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Thank you, stereotypical American

    "Ms Longueira suffered nothing more than scrapes to her arms and back in the incident, although the Longueira family says it intends to sue."

    But of course they do. If she'd walked into a lamp post (sorry, "light pole") whilst texting, she'd have had to shrug it off as a stupid thing to do, but fall down a hole without getting injured and her family's eyes light up with greed.

    I hope the judge laughs them out of court.

  17. lglethal Silver badge
    FAIL

    How American...

    "Oh noes, i wasnt watching where i was going and did something stupid - it MUST be someone else's fault!"

  18. Scott 19
    Coat

    Sueing

    Can you sue a hospital in the US if you have a unattrctive baby?

  19. Stef 4
    IT Angle

    What?

    They said sorry and accepted liability at the scene of the accident? What kind of training do these guys have? They are going to get sued seven ways from Sunday.

    "Where there's blame, there's a claim" or something.

  20. Rob
    WTF?

    Obvious

    Of course they intend to sue, as that's an indication of her families attitude she should have stayed down the sewer and moved her family in with her.

  21. Anonymous Coward
    IT Angle

    Important info missing

    But.. what type of phone was it? Clearly not the iphone since that would have enabled her to walk on water. We need to know.

  22. Bassey
    Thumb Up

    Good idea

    This is the sort of policy New Labour should be introducing over here. Leave all the manhole covers off to catch the inconsiderate little bastards that insist on trying to walk into me. It must happen four or more times every lunch time. It will catch the morons that use their umbrellas/big-tops-on-a-stick as battering rams when it's raining as well.

    And can we have large brown bears at the bottom of the manholes?

  23. spegru
    WTF?

    what kind of idiot

    opens a manhole in a public street and then walks off - even for a moment?

  24. Ebeneezer Wanktrollop
    Thumb Up

    A good idea

    I think it's a spiffing idea to litter the entire United States with these Elmer deviouring sesspit portals. Bring it on I say!

  25. Anonymous Coward
    FAIL

    Darwinian evolution should have been allowed to run its course

    by dropping the lid on top of the clueless kid.

  26. Marvin the Martian
    WTF?

    I saw the present and I didn't like it.

    When I started like reading this I was totally OMG that's so not cool but then I thought like whatever it's stupid-ass to not notice and things, you know?

  27. The Vociferous Time Waster
    Flame

    Must. Control. Rage.

    "Ms Longueira suffered nothing more than scrapes to her arms and back in the incident, although the Longueira family says it intends to sue."

    Not enough injury to cause actual loss (in terms of medical bills or lost earnings) and she was not looking where she was going. Any decision to sue is purely based on greed and a desire to exploit the screwed up legal system in the US. This sort of thing fills me with so much rage I just want to rip her face off and use it as a funny mask for my cat.

  28. Michael Habel Silver badge
    Welcome

    GAWD BLESS THE USA!!

    Land of the Litigious, and home of the Multimillion Dollar Settlements....

    Who know maybe this Girl now the power to go to Harvard and become the President someday because of this!!

    Welcome to the USA!!

  29. Chris de Jongh 1

    Sneaker

    My Pennywise the Clown is now in charge of said sneaker....

  30. ThomH Silver badge

    Sounds like the texting would make a difference to me...

    If "the fact her daughter was absorbed in texting "makes no difference", since the manhole shouldn't have been left to eat unsuspecting pedestrians", i.e. the manhole cover being off is basically a licence for anyone who falls into the sewer to cash in, then by her interpretation of the law a completely blind person who admitted that they just walk around aimlessly with no idea of what's around them could admit that in court and have the admission "make no difference"?

    If the fact that her daughter was absorbed in texting does end up making no difference (which I guess will depend on a bunch of facts and circumstances which we don't know), it won't be because an unsuspecting pedestrian is incapable of making themselves liable for falling into a manhole.

  31. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @Chris219

    >What "damages" is she hoping to claim, exactly?

    This is America, there are also punitive damages intended to punish the deed...

  32. John Curry

    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?

    It's possible for anyone to be distracted - the fact that she was texting doesn't really make any difference at all. 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's well within her rights to sue, in should do.

  33. Annihilator Silver badge
    Unhappy

    @Chris 219

    "What "damages" is she hoping to claim, exactly? The cost of a plaster, a pair of "sneakers" and some antiseptic cream?"

    Nope, there's just one sneaker that needs replacing.

    "Let's call it $200, tops."

    Oh we can but hope, but sadly methinks it'll be a lot more than that. And some poor mug will lose his job for a split second mistake. And the 'I shouldn't need to look where I'm going' waste of oxygen will learn nothing.

    What the Yanks (and potentially the UK - we're teetering on the edge) is a group of people that sue every single stupid claim for waste of public/court money/time. Unfortunately it'd probably end up hoisted by its own petard.

  34. copsewood
    Unhappy

    she has every right to sue

    Even 30 years ago when I was working on telecom underground plant we had to put cones out and road signs around our manholes before lifting the covers. We also had to use pedestrian barriers if on a pavement.

    OK, so some sighted people have their heads in the clouds. But imagine what it's like for someone with visual impairments to encounter a hole in the ground where there wasn't one before.

  35. Allan George Dyer
    Coat

    Beware...

    Next we will be hearing rumours of giant sneakers living in the Staten Island sewers.

    Just look up Peter Norton on viruses, and there's the IT angle...

    It already had one? Damn, mine's the one with the DOS 3.1 boot disc in the pocket.

  36. The Original Ash

    Ugh...

    The irritation is that this is a situation where someone *should* face legal action, but not civil from the parents. Tribunal should recommend that the DEP fire the workmen for gross negligence, and that be the end of it.

    Sueing for a grazed shin is just idiotic.

  37. Trokair 1
    Flame

    For the record.....

    This is not your "typcial American". As much as commentards enjoy being snide towards anything having to do with our country, please realize that you only ever hear of the stupid people in the papers over here. It is journalism for entertainment not information. That all Americans sue when there is the slightest mishap is as accurate as "All Brits are missing most of their teeth, have huge floppy ears, and speak a near unintelligable language that they refer to as Proper English".

    Not much of a surprise I suppose seeing how you hate your own country as much as you hate ours (from a generalized standpoint via these same boards).

    Yes the mother is an idiot, as is the teen. I hope if they do sue that the court throws out the case and orders them pay for the money wasted even considering this for trial.

  38. James Farrell

    Are we sure

    ...it wasn't terrorists?

  39. Alex 32
    Coat

    and again

    Sue the pants off the negligent bar-stewards!

    Yup, more of the same.. We're going that way too now.. (uk).. shame really.. No more dusting off the clothes, patting ourselves down, having a quick laugh before hobbling off with head held high. That's the British Way, quite right

    Mines the one with Modern Etiquette in it the pocket

  40. dunncha

    @ Chris de Jongh!

    Like a Ballon little girl?................................................We all float down here

    There's your IT angle

  41. William Clark

    If I was the Judge

    And this came to court, I would to the DEP - 'have your learnt our lesson?' and waited until the explained without prompting how sorry they were and how they made a stupid mistake and will make sure it does not happen again. I would ensure they pay for a sneaker and nominal sundires - plasters and then I would ask the claimant if she had learnt her lesson to pay attention to what I around her and then I would dismiss the case and tell the lawyers tough, go do some proper work.

  42. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    @copsewood

    "But imagine what it's like for someone with visual impairments to encounter a hole in the ground where there wasn't one before."

    I'd imagine the white stick or the guide dog would have alerted them to the danger. Much like they would have been unable to see the cones, or just trip over them and fall head first down the hole.

  43. Georgees
    Alert

    They should sue!

    If I fell down a bloody manhole I would never step on another one as long as I live.

    Also it could have been a lot worse and understandably traumatic.

    Leaving a manhole open is fucking stupid and someone needs to be disciplined.

    If this was an old granny or a toddler you'd all be up in arms about how wrong it was of the workmen.

  44. Anonymous Coward
    Flame

    You put up cones FIRST, then lift the covers...

    This has nothing to do with her texting, it has more to do with common sense. You secure your work area first from intrusion before you start work, i.e. you put cones and barriers in place BEFORE you lift the manhole cover.

    That's common sense. Looks like some commentards on here seem to forget that.

    Suing is stupid, but the threat alone is worth the company changing its practices to a more common-sensical approach.

  45. Mike Smith
    Troll

    @Bassey

    "Leave all the manhole covers off to catch the inconsiderate little bastards that insist on trying to walk into me. It must happen four or more times every lunch time."

    Don't happen to live in Leeds, do you?

    OTOH, maybe not. Four near misses per lunchtime is way too low. If the council left manhole covers open round here, the sewers would fill up in minutes. Nowhere else have I ever seen such a concentration of people who don't look where they're going. Comparing Leeds with London, Manchester, Liverpool, Edinburgh, Newcastle, Birmingham, Southampton, Bristol, Nottingham and Bournemouth, this place stands proud as the City of the Blind.

  46. Schultz
    FAIL

    @John Curry

    "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?"

    Don't we all have our disabilities? But most disabled do make an effort to pay attention to world and dog, so they are a whole bit less annoying than the careless teen.

    If the able play disabled we should be allowed to laugh!

  47. The Fuzzy Wotnot
    WTF?

    ...and stations!

    What is is about mobiles and morons? They walk along in a complete daze, the only thing on their mind is the little gadget in their hands. The sole reason for their existence, the gadget must be obeyed, all hail the gadget, their lives would collapse in under two seconds without that lifeline.

    I hate getting off the tube and crossing over to the mainline in London these days, as the minute the phone connects back to the network, the world just stops for the feckless morons. They stop being able to think logically ( if they ever did anyway! ), they stop walking and just tune into "the gadget". You feel like pushing them under a train just to teach them that there are other people about, the world does not revolve around them, the rest of us can still live without " a gadget". I think I have made a total of 5 mins of calls in the last 2 weeks on my mobile, I can live without mine!

  48. Riscyrich
    Paris Hilton

    I would hope...

    .... that the family just takes a small sum of money to replace sneakers/cloths, pay medical bills (which no doubt will be huge) and a little compo. I would also hope that they insist the guy(s) responsible get a good shoe-ing and keep their jobs. Ok, ok, it was a school boy H&S mistake which could have been a lot worse but no-one was badly hurt and I very much doubt they would ever make the same mistake again.

    Then again, this is me also hoping that people can be ‘reasonable’ these days.

    Rich

    (a big eared, toothless Englishman)

    Paris - because I bet she'd employ the sacked DEP guys to flush out her man hole

  49. alan 39

    Re William Clark

    You my son are speaking my kind of language. That in my opinion is exactly what should happen. With maybe a verbal warning and retraining for the staff in question. I cant believe how many people here are calling for the sack, it harsh if its a first offence, and an inocent mistake.

    But I really suspect that she will be getting 10's of K's of $.

    Mores the pity.

  50. Lloyd
    Coat

    No correlation at all

    There is no correlation between not looking where you are going and falling flat on your face/arse/down a hole, in fact everything should be padded and shielded just in case Darwin is proven correct.

  51. Kris Sweeney
    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!

  52. multipharious

    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.

  53. Anonymous John

    Title

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

  54. Vincent Ballard
    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.

  55. CapitalW
    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............

  56. Alan W. Rateliff, II
    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.

  57. Eddy Ito
    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.

  58. William Boyle

    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!

  59. Adam Foxton
    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...

  60. spiny norman

    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?

  61. Anonymous Coward
    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."

  62. Anonymous Coward
    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!

  63. ElReg!comments!Pierre
    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

  64. Anonymous Coward
    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.

  65. Scott 19

    @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.

  66. Anonymous Coward
    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.

  67. Blubster
    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!

  68. proto-robbie
    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.

  69. 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.

  70. brimful

    surely

    the swer company can sue for tresspassing.

  71. Anonymous Coward
    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?

  72. Anonymous Coward
    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.

  73. kain preacher

    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.

  74. Captain Thyratron

    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.

  75. proto-robbie
    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.

  76. not'known@this.address
    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...

  77. Anonymous Coward
    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.

  78. Anonymous Coward
    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.

  79. N Chapman
    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?

  80. Anonymous Coward
    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.

  81. David S
    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.

  82. This post has been deleted by a moderator

  83. Anonymous Coward
    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.

  84. Laurent Somers
    FAIL

    Would she have seen the cone?

    Just wondering ...

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