By CANDICE NELSON/WSLS
A walk down memory lane almost costs one couple their life.
Lewis and Mary Berrier wanted to visit a place they had not been to in years. So they drove to Fort Chiswell outlets in Wythe County. While following a mall walking path, the stairs underneath them collapsed, sending them tumbling more than a story down.
“I’ve had a couple heart attacks and triple bypass. I don’t know why the old ticker didn’t just stop,” Lewis told us.
Those stairs are on the back end of the outlet mall, and lead up to the second floor. When the couple did not find any stores up there, they turned around. “We were going down the steps, and we just fell. We just went to the bottom. We just rode the steps down. It was over in a second. It was over just, you couldn’t, we didn’t even have time to think,” Lewis said.
Their fall ended in a storage area underneath the staircase.
Both Lewis and Mary are 79-years-old. They’re now taking it easy in their living room, bandaged up and sore, concentrating on healing.
“The cuts were fairly bad. I’ve got three that got right many stitches. I really don’t know how many stitches I got,” Mary said.
Hall Associates manage the property. When called, the company said they were surprised to hear about the incident and weren’t aware of any problems. But now Hall Associated is counting on insurance investigators to provide risk management, and they’ll go from there.
Lewis has ideas on what should be done.
“There should be signs posted on the first level, telling you there’s nothing up there. People familiar with that mall know that, but we haven’t been up there in years, and didn’t know there was nothing up there,” Lewis said.
He also wants warnings for mall walkers.
Overall, both Lewis and Mary say they’re very lucky and blessed that their injuries were not worse then they are. They’ll be going to get a regular check-up in the next couple of days.