By Dave Savini

(CBS) — It was an emotional day in court Wednesday as Tierney Darden described the exact moment a bus shelter at O’Hare Airport fell on top of her and crushed her spine.

CBS 2’s Dave Savini reports.

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The 26-year-old Vernon Hills woman testified about her catastrophic injuries. In 2015, her spinal cord was crushed when a 700-pound shelter with rusted or missing bolts fell on her.

Days after her injury, The 2 Investigators showed how numerous other shelters were also falling apart, which led to their removal.

Wednesday, Darden’s attorney, Patrick Salvi, asked her to describe the moment she was crushed.

Jurors must decide how much the city should pay for her lifelong care, pain and suffering.

“I heard a scream, then I got hit in the head by the shelter,” she told jurors. “I started to run but then realized it was too late to run. I could see the ground in slow motion. My face hit the ground. There was a crack and a white light and everything went numb.”

When Salvi asked her what was her passion in life, she replied, “Dancing. It was my heart and soul.”

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His last question was to describe her pain. “It’s like torture,” she said.

Earlier in court, city lawyers cross-examined Darden’s doctor about his testimony concerning her “significant pain” since the injury.

The doctor said it is “worth a try” to implant a spinal cord stimulator to help reduce her future pain.

Everything has a price in this trial, including her future pain levels. Jurors will have to decide if the $22 million offer by the city is enough or if she deserves more for her care.

The trial is expected to end next week.


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