Girl trapped under elevator sues Oklahoma City Public Schools

One of the three teenage girls who became trapped under an elevator at the Classen School for Advanced Studies claims in a lawsuit against the Oklahoma City Public Schools that the November 2011 incident left her disfigured and in need of continuing medical treatment.
by Andrew Knittle Modified: April 29, 2013 at 10:15 pm •  Published: April 30, 2013

“Superintendent Springer was speaking out of great concern for the students involved and based upon the information then available to him,” Fugitt said. “The position taken by the district in the lawsuit is based upon a good faith understanding of the facts and contains assertions of what may be proved to a court or jury depending on additional facts that may be developed in the lawsuit.”

Fugitt said the district's legal counsel investigated the elevator incident, but no final report was prepared.

The lawsuit against the school district, seeking at least $100,000 in damages, is pending in Oklahoma County District Court.

About her injuries

Of the three girls trapped under the elevator, Tygard, a seventh-grader at the time, was the most injured and stayed in the hospital for two days.

Tygard can be heard screaming for help in a 911 call made by one of the other girls pinned under the elevator.

“At first, when the elevator was coming down, I thought I was really going to die,” she told reporters at The Children's Hospital at OU Medical Center, two days after the incident. “After it smashed me, I realized we were going to be OK, but I was in a lot of pain.”

Tygard said a bar pressed into her left hip as the elevator came to a rest on top of the three girls, who were lying on their backs, overlapping each other, as they tried to hold off the elevator.

In addition to the hip injury, Tygard also said she injured two disks in her back and that her leg went numb as she pushed with all her strength against the descending elevator.

Steece would not provide a description of his client's physical condition or say exactly how it is that she is disfigured.

Tygard is still a student at the school, as is one other girl, Steece said. The third girl is no longer enrolled there.


by Andrew Knittle
Investigative Reporter
Andrew Knittle has covered state water issues, tribal concerns and major criminal proceedings during his career as an Oklahoma journalist. He has won reporting awards from the state's Associated Press bureau and prides himself on finding a real...
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