Local News


YOU ASK. WE INVESTIGATE. Woman injured by CenturyLink utility box

Posted at 7:13 PM, Sep 30, 2016
and last updated 2016-09-30 22:13:12-04
 A 90-year-old Summerlin woman said she is left paying for one company's negligence.
Esther Totera used to walk around her neighborhood every day. About two months ago, she came to a utility box in the sidewalk that didn't have a cover and fell.
"I broke down and cried," said Totera's daughter Natalie Bryant. "My mom's my queen."
Seeing her mom with a broken leg, broken arm and stitches across her head was difficult for Bryant.
"It's breaking my heart," she said. "I go upstairs at night and cry; it breaks my heart."
It only got harder when Totera had to be taken back to the hospital a month later with a pulmonary embolism. 
All this after a fall in the beginning of August, when she said she tripped on the uncovered utility box in the sidewalk across the street from their home near Lake Mead and Rampart boulevards.
"I got up and I walked home with a broken knee and a broken arm," said Totera.
The recovery has been hard for the 90-year-old who used to walk at least a mile a day.
"I'm just so discouraged and depressed right now, sad," Totera said. "I mean to think, a month ago, charging around here like a little fire engine, doing everything."
Bryant found out this is a CenturyLink utility box. After several calls, she said they finally came out and fixed it, but left several other boxes uncovered, leaving her worried.
"I informed the repairmen from CenturyLink when they were here that at least 80 percent of their utility covers are all broken and damaged," Bryant said.
13 Action News walked the neighborhood with Bryant and found several more CenturyLink utility boxes that have now had their covers replaced, too. 
While that gives her more peace for her family's safety, she is upset at the response from CenturyLink to the original incident.
"I'm irate that CenturyLink can't take the time to make a courtesy call to me," said Bryant. "Their negligence has caused so much turmoil in this family and it's affected so many people's lives, not just my mother's."
13 Action News reached out to CenturyLink, which sent the following statement:
CenturyLink strives to respond to customer concerns and needs as soon as possible. Earlier this week, we were notified of a damaged lid. Out of an abundance of caution, the contractor replaced 32 lids in that neighborhood. We deeply apologize for this situation. Should someone notice damaged lids, we encourage them to call 888-265-6822 to report it.
However, they had not apologized to Bryant or Totera, claiming they did not know who to contact, until we let them know.