HACKENSACK, N.J. (CBSNewYork) – It was an accident that changed the lives of eight people in an instant.
An escalator at the old Giants Stadium suddenly sped up and stopped, sending them all flying downward.
On Monday, the victims who were in court told their story to CBS 2?s Christine Sloan.
“The steps, they couldn’t take all that activity. They basically broke apart and swallowed my leg,” victim Michael Harris said.
Harris was speaking out for the first time about the day in 2007 when the escalator malfunctioned, the steps crushing his right leg that had to be amputated.
“I was just trapped, hunched over the side,” Harris said.
He was hunched over for 30 minutes. He said his friend begged him to hold on.
“‘Mike, just stay awake, stay awake,'” Harris said. “They had to get the jaws of life quickly. That’s when the blood rushed to my ankle and my foot.”
On Monday, Harris and the seven other victims were in court for the start of the trial against Schindler, the company in charge of the escalator. However, within hours a settlement was reached for an undisclosed amount of money.
“What Schindler wants to say is sympathies go out to all of the victims and wish them well,” Schindler attorney Ed DePascal said.
But for Harris and the others it’s been an uphill battle.
“Tibia, foot, ankle crushed in the stairs,” victim Joe Capuano said.
“I can’t run, play sports.”
The victims’ attorneys said the brakes of the overloaded escalator failed because they hadn’t been inspected.
“I just know as bad as the accident was I still have the life to lead,” Harris said.
The settlement is just with Schindler. The case continues against the New Jersey Sports and Exposition Authority.
The attorney for Schindler said the settlement does not mean there is any admission by the company that it was at fault.