Woman distracted by texting falls into open sidewalk hatch
An overcrowded Myrtle Beach sidewalk has a Virginia woman suing the city, claiming it created hazardous conditions that led to her subsequent fall two years ago.
Kathleen Boise is requesting a jury trial, saying her fall resulted in loss of enjoyment of life, alteration of lifestyle, embarrassment and humiliation, mental anguish, psychological trauma, physical pain and suffering, permanent impairment, and medical and out-of-pocket expenses.
In June 2017, Boise was walking on a sidewalk along Ocean Boulevard when she approached a “dangerously uneven” tree grate that over time had become separated and displaced, according to the lawsuit. Due to a crowded sidewalk, the suit states, Boise was forced to walk directly over the tree grate resulting in her tripping and falling.
“As Kathleen and her family approached the dangerously uneven tree grate, the sidewalk was crowded and Kathleen and her family were forced to walk to the left of a tree in the middle of the sidewalk,” the suit states. “(The) City of Myrtle Beach owed Kathleen a duty not to create dangerous conditions on its sidewalks such as the dangerously uneven tree grate that injured Kathleen.”
According to the lawsuit, Boise attempted to brace herself as she fell and sustained serious fractures to her right wrist, which ultimately resulted in surgery and caused her to suffer other damages.
The lawsuit also claims Myrtle Beach officials knew that its sidewalks weren’t wide enough to “safely accommodate” a large number of pedestrians, citing a statement allegedly made by city spokesperson Mark Kruea saying, “The sidewalks are from a different era so they’re not quite as wide as they need to be.”
“(The) City of Myrtle Beach owed Kathleen a duty to discover dangerous conditions on its sidewalks, such as the dangerously uneven tree grate that injured Kathleen on its sidewalks and make them safe, especially as the City of Myrtle Beach knew its sidewalks were too narrow for the number of pedestrians and “not as wide as they need to be,”” the suit states.
While Kruea told The Sun News the city doesn’t comment on pending litigation, he said his comment cited in the lawsuit was used in “another context entirely.”
Kruea’s comment was discovered in an article published by WBTW in 2017 regarding a city ordinance restricting anyone from blocking, sitting or lying down on a sidewalk as a way to increase safety.