In interview, Dad recalls finding girl with fingers severed by escalator

Adalene Moreno plays in a swing Aug. 1, 2018, in Sandy, Utah. Adalene, who had two fingers partially amputated in a grocery store escalator last year, is learning to color pictures again, but she could be facing more surgeries as her small hands grow. | Associated Press photo by Rick Bowmer, St. George News

SANDY, Utah (AP) — A 4-year-old Utah girl whose fingers were severed in the steps of a grocery store escalator last year is learning to color pictures again, but she could face more surgeries as her small hands grow, her father said Wednesday.

For Ramon Moreno, it’s hard to forget the terrifying day he held his daughter Adalene in one arm and two of her fingers in a bucket in the other.

“It’s a sick feeling. Scary,” he said in an interview.

Adalene Moreno, a 4-year-old Utah girl who had two fingers partially amputated in a grocery store escalator last year, waves during an interview Aug. 1, 2018, in Sandy, Utah. | Associated Press photo by Rick Bowmer, St. George News

The family filed a lawsuit last week claiming Adalene lost her fingers because the Salt Lake City store failed to keep the escalator properly maintained. It says several “comb teeth” of the escalator’s steps were missing, creating a hole where the girl could stick her fingers inside.

“I don’t want nobody to feel what I felt, or kid to go through what my daughter went through,” Moreno said. The lawsuit filed against the supermarket and the escalator manufacturer claims state inspectors had warned the store about the broken pieces two years before, and safety switches did not stop the escalator from functioning after the girl’s fingers got caught. The lawsuit seeks unspecified monetary damages.

The store, Kroger-owned Smith’s Marketplace, declined to comment Wednesday, citing the ongoing litigation. The escalator’s manufacturer, Schindler Elevator Corp., has denied wrongdoing.

Moreno was on his way to his construction job when he got the call from the girl’s mother, Silvia Zamora, his former partner, on Sept. 20, 2017. She had been buying when she heard the girl scream.

She rushed from the second-floor self-check register to the nearby escalator and found then-3-year-old Adalene at the bottom, covered in blood, her middle and ring fingers severed midway down. Adalene is too young to say exactly how it happened, so lawyers are also trying to obtain store surveillance video.

Employees had to retrieve the fingers from escalator components under the floor, and Moreno rushed the girl to an ambulance. Surgeons tried to re-attach the fingers, but they were too small and mangled, Moreno said.

“She from went being happy, singing, dancing, all the time every day, to just kind lying there with a blank look on her face,” Moreno said.

Today, Adalene is a bubbly child with long dark hair who loves her Barbie dolls, building forts out of blankets and playing with her six older brothers and sisters.

But her face occasionally clouds over with when she thinks about her missing fingers, her father said.

Moreno worries about his daughter’s future, wondering whether she’ll be self-conscious when she’s older or how she might wear a wedding ring one day with a severed ring finger.

“It’s something I have to think about all the time,” he said.

By LINDSAY WHITEHURST, Associated Press.

Email: news@stgnews.com

Twitter: @STGnews

Copyright 2018 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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8 Comments

  • DRT August 2, 2018 at 6:28 pm

    Oh sure, let the three year old run around unsupervised, because your shopping is so much more important. Then find somebody with deep pockets to sue when the inevitable happens.
    The mother should face criminal charges of neglect.
    WATCH YOUR DAMN KIDS!

  • SaintGeorgeLocal August 2, 2018 at 8:12 pm

    it is a little strange that a child that age would be left to run around a store unsupervised

  • ladybugavenger August 2, 2018 at 8:43 pm

    I am in agreement with the other comments.
    Mom wasnt paying attention to her child and the child got hurt.
    I also am conflicted with the repairs not being done to escalator. They just need a good attorney to push for a settlement. That’s the American way.

  • Striker4 August 2, 2018 at 11:35 pm

    Hey it’s all about the money ..go for it !

    • Real Life August 3, 2018 at 7:23 pm

      Let’s just hope all these floods don’t fill up your mommy’s basement because you would be homeless.

  • LunchboxHero August 3, 2018 at 9:27 am

    I am so sorry this little girl lost her fingers due to her mother’s negligence. I see unsupervised kids all over the stores, so I’m not necessarily surprised, but it is a shame.

  • LocalDad August 3, 2018 at 4:57 pm

    If the escalator had a problem then it was only a matter of time before another kid found that hole. Her being unsupervised only increased the possibility that she would get hurt. But it didn’t negate the possibility that her being supervised would have eliminated the chance of her getting hurt. It was only a matter of time before a child, supervised or not supervised, was going to get hurt by that escalator. And I hope they pay for her college and perhaps a decent used car. It’s a lot worse when little girls lose fingers than it is for when little boys lose fingers.

  • comments August 4, 2018 at 4:57 pm

    Seem like fault lies with both parties. I wonder how long the child had been playing with the escalator before she put her fingers in the very worst place. They will get a chunk of money very likely. The question is how much is the store to blame when the kid was running loose–I mean will they get less $$$ bc of that. As far as “life changing” injuries go, well, the kid lost two finger on the left hand–not likely to even be the dominant hand. Really not that life changing or crippling. I’ve seen far worse when kids are using lawn mowers. She can get some silicone prosthetics for occasional use. Parents would be wise to get a good lawyer and settle out of courts, but maybe they got greedy and want 10mil+. who knows…

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