A 22-year-old mother is dead after fatally falling while trying to carry the stroller holding her 1-year-old daughter down the stairs of a subway station in New York City.
According to the New York Times, Malaysia Goodson, 22, had entered a Manhattan station on Monday night with her daughter, Rhylee, in tow in her stroller, having brought the toddler along for a shopping trip in the city.
As Goodson tried to maneuver down the stairs at the Seventh Avenue station, she fell, ultimately dying. Rhylee survived the fall and is in the care of her father.
Accessibility in the city’s station has been a longstanding issue, with most stops in the infrastructure not having an elevator.
It is a problem faced by many New Yorkers with disabilities, who are elderly or who are carting strollers.
“Everybody who has been a parent or a caregiver knows that this is a problem,” Christine Serdjenian Yearwood, the founder of Up-Stand, an organization that has pushed to make the transit system more accessible for parents told the Times.
“I’ve had a lot of people write and say, ‘This could have been me,’” she added.
When emergency responders arrived at the scene, Goodson was unconscious and unresponsive. She was pronounced dead at Mount Sinai West hospital.
A city’s medical examiner is expected to determine whether Goodson was killed from the impact of her fall, or if she suffered from a medical condition, the Times notes.
Meanwhile, Shams Tarek, a spokesperson for the Metropolitan Transportation Authority expressed that the agency would work with the police to investigate what he called “a heartbreaking tragedy.”
The Times reports that only about a quarter of New York City’s sprawling subway system’s 472 stations have elevators. Those that have them are still inaccessible as they are often out of order, with the report citing one survey that found that each elevator breaks down around 53 times a year.
The Times notes:
When the elevators are functioning properly, they are often small, odoriferous and inconveniently positioned at the far ends of stations. That can make them frustrating for disabled subway riders who depend on them and an unappealing option for straphangers who do not.
The city’s subway system has long been scrutinized. There was a lawsuit filed in 2017 against the transit authority, which blasted the subway system as one of the least accessible in the country, and accused to transit authority of violating the federal Americans with Disabilities Act.
The case is still active, with the Justice Department joining in the case in 2018.
City Mayor Bill de Blasio acknowledged that the system “is not accessible for everyone and that’s an environment the MTA should not allow.”
This is a heartbreaking tragedy that never should have happened. The subway system is not accessible for everyone and that’s an environment the MTA should not allow. https://t.co/X89fQep0LY
— Mayor Bill de Blasio (@NYCMayor) January 29, 2019
“This is a heartbreaking tragedy that never should have happened,” he said of Goodson’s story.
“Malaysia just gave so much of her self,” Goodson’s cousin, Ronshuana Anthony told the Times. “She’d give her last breath to her if she could.”