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Broken elevators leave wheelchair-bound disabled veteran stuck inside his apartment for weeks

Posted at 7:02 PM, Jul 17, 2023
and last updated 2023-07-17 20:02:30-04

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — Elevators at the Nueces Loft Apartments in downtown Corpus Christi have been temporarily out of order for over a month. The issue is a burden on all residents of the ten floors at the complex, but for one disabled wheelchair-bound veteran, it's more than just a burden. It's a nightmare.

Steven New moved into Nueces Loft Apartments almost four years ago and recently had to start using a wheelchair to get around.

He lives on the eighth floor of the apartment complex, but with both elevators temporarily out of order, it has been anything but an easy ride.

"I’ve wanted to leave every single day, and I’ve asked to leave, and after they got mad at me, I guess they decided I wasn’t worthy of it anymore," New said.

New said the apartment first brought in an elevator technician to manually lift and lower the elevator for him but has since stopped this accommodation.

Since then, he put in more requests for reasonable accommodations. He said he feels trapped inside, even missing his uncle's recent funeral service, having no way to leave his room.

"I’ve been in here since last Friday continuously and I went to the doctor that day, as well. I was only allowed to leave three other times. They said I was allowed to leave every day, but that’s just not true," New said.

New gets creative when it comes to adjusting to the elevator issue. To bring groceries up, he ties a bag to a rope and lowers it down his window. Then someone drops the groceries in, and he pulls the rope up to bring the groceries in.

He said in the last five weeks, he’s only been able to leave his apartment five times, and each time has had to be home before midnight.

"I feel like I’ve been betrayed. That’s how I really feel. I can’t imagine anyone treating a friend like this, let alone a stranger," New said.

Documents from the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation (TDLR) reveal that one of the two elevators had 12 violations following a March inspection.

That inspection comes after TDLR sent two past-due notices of overdue inspections and one year late.

Some problems noted include:

  • Elevator hoist ropes are undersized and replaced
  • Elevator car door closing force shall not exceed 30 lbs
  • The floor level where the elevator stops should not exceed ¼ of an inch (According to the report, the elevator stops as much as 3 inches off the group without realigning)

An inspector even noted that the elevator should be repaired as soon as possible.
KRIS 6 reached out to TDLR to ask about any pending investigations. They said they are still working on a response.

The Nueces Loft Apartments management said that the TDLR will be inspecting the elevators next Monday and hope to have both fixed by then.

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