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Dad Dies on Escalator at Detroit Airport

Dad Dies on Escalator at Detroit Airport
Jackie Reddy

The family of Thomas Quigley, who broke his neck and died after slipping on an escalator last summer at DTW, say that his death could have been easily prevented by the presence of safety signage. However, authorities at DTW have said that they are in compliance with best-practice safety procedures.

The family of a man who died after slipping on an escalator last summer at Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County Airport (DTW) say that the incident highlights a major safety issue at the facility, USA Today reports. Thomas Quigley died after breaking his neck while pausing to adjust the luggage case that he was carrying. According to the outlet, there are no signs at DTW to advise passengers that luggage, strollers or wheelchairs are forbidden on escalators.

Quigley’s family, however, feel that the presence of this kind of warning signage might just have saved his life and that he may have decided to use the elevator instead of the escalator.

“Our priorities are that this doesn’t happen to anybody else. Signage is such a simple thing. It’s not that I don’t believe in personal responsibility, but there is an onus on the airport to inform people that they have options. And signage is a simple, cost effective measure,” explained Amy Facchineri, one of Quigley’s daughters.

“I can’t find peace. I feel like he was taken from us, and I feel like this shouldn’t have happened,” she added.

The family is considering taking legal action against DTW.

However, Erica Donerson, a spokesperson for the Wayne County Airport Authority (WCAA), told the Detroit Free Press that, “After reviewing best practices throughout the U.S. aviation industry, especially large hub airports like Detroit Metropolitan Airport, we confirmed prohibiting luggage on escalators is not standard practice. While we may modify our signs in the future, we don’t have plans to add language prohibiting luggage.”

[Image Source: Shutterstock]

View Comments (8)


  1. DragonSoul

    March 25, 2019 at 7:58 pm

    One can commiserate with the family for their loss, but ultimately people have to take responsibility for what they do.

    It seems that common sense is a thing of the past, and if something bad happens to another, someone else is to blame (not the person doing the action).

    Think of all the warning signs at swimming pools, yet people still drown. Are the warning signs supposed to cover all contingencies, even those no one could imagine till they happen? “Dead parachutist family suing pool owners for not having a sign about no parachuting into the pool.”

    Take away personal responsibility we arrive at a society full of idiots. We’re part way there already.

  2. mvoight

    March 25, 2019 at 8:20 pm

    There are no signs prohibiting luggage on escalators at DTW, because it is PERMITTED
    Has this man never before seen safety signs on escalatiors?

  3. fairhsa

    March 25, 2019 at 8:46 pm

    Seriously? While this is sad, it’s a choice to take an escalator or a lift. People do need to take responsibility for their own lives and not blame others if the choice turns out to be wrong. This is so what is wrong with the US.

  4. dvs7310

    March 25, 2019 at 11:00 pm

    I can’t think of an airport anywhere in the world where people don’t take their luggage on escalators. Give me a break, while the family’s loss is certainly tragic, this suit is just looking for a payout. Can you imagine how long the lines would be for elevators if people didn’t take suitcases on escalators? People with legitimate need to use elevators would be the losers. There are even several airports in the world where taking the large luggage trollies on the escalator is standard.

  5. jahason

    March 26, 2019 at 1:01 am

    The theory is that employers underpay so that guests can tip staff, who in turn will provide a superior service as the tips provide an incentive. And yet in Asia-Pacific region no tips are expected and service is superior.

    I agree staff should not be underpaid. Their employers should pay them a decent salary for the work they do.

  6. shadow520

    March 26, 2019 at 12:08 pm

    If luggage were to be forbidden on escalators at airports, they might as well remove the escalators. It’s an airport. EVERYONE has luggage. I agree with the others, personal responsibility is at play here. If the escalator was in disrepair, that would be one thing, but if someone had an accident of their own doing, I’m sorry for your loss, but it’s no ones fault but your own. Society needs to quit looking to place blame on others and start looking in the mirror.

  7. htb

    March 28, 2019 at 3:24 pm

    The only reasonable sign I can think of is one asking to place ones trolley behind oneself on the escalator.
    Not in front to avoid tripping over it at the end of the escalator.
    Not beside oneself out of consideration for others who might want to pass.

  8. drvannostren

    April 13, 2019 at 9:21 pm

    Yea…even if there was signage, you gotta know this guy would’ve taken his luggage on the escalator anyway. I feel bad for the family for sure, but natural selection is what it is. Bad things happen to good people all the time, it sucks, but such is life.

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