Boy Critical After Fall Down Elevator Shaft

Updated 1/24/11 9:03 p.m.

JOLIET, Ill. (CBS/STMW) – Questions remain Monday morning after a 2-year-old boy was severely injured when he fell down an elevator shaft at a Joliet hotel.

On Sunday, the boy fell from the second floor to the basement at the Plaza Hotel, at 26 W. Clinton St. in Joliet.

The boy, a sibling and their mother were in a room when the 2-year-old slipped away unnoticed, went to an elevator and began playing with the buttons.

LISTEN: Newsradio 780’s Bernie Tafoya reports

Police say the elevator began to move and the toddler pushed the “stop” button, but when he did, there was about a 16-inch space between the elevator and the wall.

The child fell about 30 feet. He was initially taken to Silver Cross Hospital in Joliet, and was later reported in critical condition at Children’s Memorial Hospital in critical condition.

Hotel Guest Karl Posey said she could hear the child screaming as he plunged down the shaft, “He was in the elevator. Because we heard him right there in the elevator. So I went to get my screwdriver to try to pry the door open. By the time I got back, he done fell.”

Police say surveillance video shows it just took seconds for the child to wander outside his mothers room and into some serious trouble.

“He actually walks through the hallway and to the elevator. He presses the elevator button, enters the elevator and on the video, you can actually see the little boy pressing the buttons,” said Joliet police Chief Fred Hayes.

The city of Joliet says a contractor inspected the elevator in October and that it passed inspection.

Firefighters say this incident was an unfortunate accident for a mom whose attention turned away from her child, “It only just takes a few minutes. And clearly in this case it was just within 5 minutes. The boy walked out of that room and the mother then came looking for the boy.”

  • Vicky

    Sounds like the 2 year-old was unattended.

  • Preciouslady

    Vicky, I agree with you, because this sounds very strange to say the least. One would wonder, was he alone, if so how long, where there any witnesses, how long was he in the basement before someone realized that he had fallen.

    Those parents or whomever he was with have a lot of explaining to do.

  • Miss P

    Seriously? Have you ever been arouund a 2 year old? You can be the most attentive parent/guardian, and they still manage to slip away from you every so often. They could have simply been waiting on the elevator, and the door could have opened with no car there, and before anyone had a chance to react, the boy could have run forward like any excited child would have. Stop trying to cast blame without hearing facts and instead have some sympathy for this boy and those who love him.

    • Roberta Waker

      The facts as reported said the mother already took him away from the elevator; but was in another room when he got out again. Why wasn’t the door locked? Why was she there when she lived two blocks away? Sounds like child endangerment to me and both children should be removed from her custody. As for your comment on how fast 2 years old can be; that’s all the more reason to watch them more closely, especially if he already got out of the room before. Child neglect is child neglect.

  • Linda

    I have kids of my own so instead of placing blame I am going to pray for that baby and his family

  • miss c

    Well crackheads and prostitutes and drug dealers utilize this hotel and then others live there n pay weekly. Its called the roach motel. The projects r a better place than the Joliet Hotel! I live n joliet n u would think that by it being only half a block from the Harrahs Casino, they would have cleaned it up by now!! Unfortunetley this happens too often here n Joliet!

  • Straight Shooter

    As the father of a 2-yr old I can understand how kids can get away from you even if you turn your head for just a second. I would like to know more facts before judgement is made on anyone’s part however it does sound like he had enough time to get on an elevator, play around, and then get injured before it was noticed which is alarming because I never let my kid out of sight for more than a minute especially in public. Regardless of how this happened I pray the little guy makes it through this.

  • ismael martinez

    miss p you idiot i took care of two kids and i never lost sight of them either at the house or the playground. when i was with them i did not let anything distract me. my attention was on them 100% of the time.i hope this kid gets well and gets an education so he won’t be a dummy like his’s the parents fault without a doubt.

  • bob

    I don’t care if the mom let the kid play in the elevator for an hour – no properly designed elevator should open up in such a way that someone, even a small child, can fall out of it into the shaft. Channel 2 missed the whole point of this tragedy – the motel elevator.

    • Roberta Waker

      So sue the motel elevator?? When you have chihldren, YOU are responsible for their well being. The mother is totally responsible in this case. She left a 2 and 5 year old in their OWN room while she was ?????? She should have hired a babysitter if she needed some nookey. Hope the little guy makes it ok and BOTH children are removed from her custody.

  • Teddy

    first the elevator doors cannot open with no car there, if that was true people would be dying left and right, next if your inside an elevator and press the stop button it should never open the doors in between floors. i would blame all of this on the elevator inspector and the maintenance workers that work at the hotel.

    • Roberta Waker

      What if he had gone through a window and fell down three stories to his death? What if he was paralyzed as a result of this negligence? The motel room door should have been LOCKED and his “mother” should have been aware of his location; not sleeping or carrying on in another room. Put the blame on the mother; that’s where it belongs. PERIOD.

  • the TRUF

    That place has been a shi+hole since the 90’s. Its suprising that place hasnt been condemned sooner or that elevator hasnt fallen yet. I used to run a restuarant that serviced that hotel, and I would NEVER allow my drivers to get in that elevator. The guy that owns that place is in it for the money only. They took a lot of the degenerates in when they closed the ymca sro down the street. Joliet as a rule is low class, and I was glad to move out. The building department lets anything go. I hope this lady sues the motel, the city and the fire department and gets a HUGE settlement

    • Roberta Waker

      If this place is as bad as you say that was all the more reason why this child should have been supervised. It isn’t the motel’s fault the boy was unsupervised; it wasn’t the fire department that was responsible for his accident; it’s not the city’s fault that this boy wasn’t supervised. Put the blame where it belongs; on the mother who was sleeping or doing whatever in another room. She’s lucky the 5 year old wasn’t hurt too. Take these kids away from her; she’s not ready to be a mother.

  • Vicky

    Every hotel door has a deadbolt and I would certainly not allow a 2 year-old to wander unattended in a hotel to play with an elevator. These are the dingdong parents that scream the loudest when their kids are abducted. This is not to say that I don’t feel pity on the situation……’s pathetic and so easily could have been avoided.

  • Vicky

    An unattended toddler and a malfunctioning elevator are not a good scenario.

  • Miss P

    for those of you saying an elevator should never open without a car you’ve obviously never lived in cabrini green. and ismael martinez, did i call anybody out of their name? i dont think so. i know from my mother raising 4 of us plus me watching children of my own that they will get away from you if you turn away from even a second. maybe you deserve the miracle caretaker of the year award for being able to see a child every second of every day. i simply stated people need to stop casting blame without hearing the full facts, and your unnecessary name calling actually helped prove my point.

    • Roberta Waker

      The article said she was sleeping or doing whatever in another room; it also said she brought him in from the elevator once before; it also said the 2 and 5 year old were in another room by themselves while they allegedly “watched football”. Sounds pretty fishy to me. The motel door SHOULD have been locked and she should KNOW where her children are, especially a 2 year old. They need to be taken away from her to prevent any other “accidents” due to her negligence.

  • Miss P

    when i read the article it had very little details, which is why i said people need not jump to conclusions without facts. it has since been updated. the original article only stated a 2 year old fell down the shaft to the basement from the 2nd floor. nothing more. so you can attack me all you want; i simply chose not to condemn anyone without facts.

  • Inspector: Boy Shouldn’t Have Accessed Elevator Switch « CBS Chicago

    […] On Jan. 23 at the Plaza Hotel, at 26 W. Clinton St. in Joliet, the boy, a sibling and their mother w… […]

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