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CBS 2 Exclusive: Girl Released From Hospital Months After Escalator Accident

Juliana Valdez, 11, Needed To Have Her Toes And Foot Reconstructed
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PARAMUS, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — An 11-year-old girl who had her foot and leg ripped apart on an escalator at the Macy’s inside of the Garden State Plaza in Paramus, N.J. was released from the hospital on Thursday.

Juliana Valdez went through three months of agony following an accident during a mid-August shopping trip that left her foot and leg mangled.

“I just remember it got stuck in the escalator,” she told CBS 2’s Jessica Schneider, “I was scared.”

Her foot was pressed up against a smooth-faced riser on the escalator when it was sucked into a gap between two stairs.

“It came as close to taking her foot as you can possibly come,” attorney Sam Davis said.

The escalators were immediately shut down and boarded up, and Valdez began a long hospital stay.

Doctors reconstructed her toes and lower leg, but Valdez will have to undergo years of physical therapy.

“They said I’m going to be able to walk again and my foot will eventually heal,” she said.

Valdez and her family are suing Macy’s and the manufacturer of the escalator for $10-million. Macy’s would not comment on the lawsuit.

Thyssen Krupp Elevator, the escalator’s manufacturer did offer a statement.

“The escalator has been shut down. We are now in the process of upgrading the escalators in the store,” the company said.

The escalator involved in the accident was 58-years-old.

Experts told CBS 2 that old escalators are everywhere and that the danger is real.

“They are inherently dangerous for the public and in my opinion they should be changed. Either modified or just replaced completely,” Patrick Carrajat said.

Valdez’s family wants Macy’s to pay up.

“To make my daughter’s like better now because we’re going to go through a lot more things,” Juan Valdez said.

Officials told CBS 2 that the escalator’s inspection certificate expired two weeks before the accident.

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