Disfigured Girl Sues For $100,000 After Being Trapped Under Fallen School Lift

01/05/2013 13:10 | Updated 22 May 2015

A teenage girl is suing a school for $100,000 for injuries she suffered after getting trapped under a fallen lift.

Ambri Tygard, now aged 14, has been left disfigured after the incident at her Oklahoma school in November 2011.

She says she needs continuing medical treatment so she and her father are suing Oklahoma City Public Schools for negligence.

Ambri was one of three teenage girls, along with Liz Smith and Savanna Gable, who became trapped under an elevator for 40 minutes at the Classen School for Advanced Studies.

Ambri was the most seriously injured, suffering pressure on her lower body that left her legs numb and stayed in the hospital for two days.

She said she and her friends were on the first floor of their school when they decided to take the elevator.

"I didn't think it was unsafe or anything. I just thought it was normal, until I looked up [and] realised, 'This isn't the elevator. This is the shaft room."

But it was too late, her friend had already closed the door and they were locked inside. Ambri said that within 30 seconds, the elevator that was three floors above, suddenly dropped, stopping just inches above them.

"I was like, 'We're going to die. We have to find a way out. There must be some way out'," she said.

"I couldn't breathe because it was such a tiny space. My whole leg area was numb, I couldn't feel anything."

The girls were rescued 40 minutes later and were taken to hospital on stretchers by paramedics. Ambri credited her friend's combat boots with saving their lives.

"[The elevator] came down right on her boot and stopped it," she said.

Attorney Thomas Steece, who is representing Ambri, wrote in the petition that his client 'has suffered permanent, progressive and painful injuries' due to the elevator incident.

He said she 'has suffered and will suffer physical and emotional pain and suffering ... as a result of the subject negligence,' he wrote.

She 'has suffered disfigurement ... and will sustain loss of enjoyment of life as a result of injuries and damages sustained.'

At the time district Superintendent Karl Springer admitted that the door to the older, lift-style elevator should have been locked.

"It's not their fault," he said at the time. Now the school district's attorney, Andy Fugitt, is denying nearly all of the allegations made by the girl's lawyers.

He wrote: "Plaintiff's own negligence was the sole cause of her injuries. Plaintiff was comparatively negligent, and her comparative negligence is in sufficient percentage to reduce or bar any recovery herein."


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