The Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation, which oversees the state's elevators, has fined Otis Elevator Co. and the Crockett Hotel for the 2011 accident that killed Gloria Rodriguez, a longtime housekeeper at the downtown hotel.
Three days after Christmas 2011, Gloria Rodriguez plunged seven stories to her death down the Crockett's service elevator shaft. A subsequent investigation by Lawrence Taylor, the state's chief elevator inspector, uncovered numerous problems
. Among them, the Crockett was two weeks late for its state-mandated inspection at the time of Rodriguez's death. Perhaps most troubling, Taylor wrote, there were clear signs a maintenance worker had previously noticed problems with the service elevator brakes. Instead of making the necessary repairs, the unknown worker unsuccessfully tried to jerry-rig a fix with a jumper cable.
Taylor wrote, "[N]o one actually did anything meaningful or effective to uncover the real problem(s) and embark on a course of action that would have solved the problem and prevented this tragic event."
The TDLR suspects elevator's brake failed shortly after it stopped on the sixth-floor landing and the car began to creep up. Rodriguez, it appears, unsuspectingly stepped into an empty elevator shaft and fell to the basement.
The Crockett's owners, 1859 Historic Hotels Ltd, have been fined $25,800 for the incident, the TDLR announced Monday. Otis, the company that pioneered the modern elevator, has been fined $60,000.
Rodriguez's family filed a lawsuit against Otis and the Crockett's owners last year. That case is still pending, according to county records.