By Tamar Lapin
November 11, 2019 | 6:57pm |
The parents of a Manhattan man crushed to death by an elevator in August said that they are still in “disbelief” over the tragedy.
Laura and Charles Waisbren told Inside Edition that they were in “total disbelief” when the lift in their son’s luxury Kips Bay high-rise plunged from the lobby — squeezing their son Sam, 30, between the wall and elevator car.
“Frankly, we’re still in a state of disbelief,” Charles said in a clip that aired Monday.
“I talked to him the night before he died, told him I loved him, that I was proud of him.”
The grieving mom, Laura, said Sam is “in my heart all day.”
“I feel he’s still here,” she said.
A man who narrowly escaped injury when he jumped out of the the elevator moments before Sam’s death — told the program he still has nightmares about the gruesome incident.
“I keep thinking about almost dying, watching someone die in front of me,” said Tyler Hartsfield.
The horrifying scene was captured on building surveillance cameras. Hartsfield could be seen emerging, then wheeling around as the lift gave way and grabbing his head in disbelief.
Sam shot out his right hand to grab the frame of the elevator door and tried to plant his right leg onto a sliver of lobby floor, but was immediately overpowered, the footage showed.
Five other passengers were safely rescued and brought out of the car from the basement.
“I turned around and saw another man try to get out and get crushed.”
Weeks earlier, the Department of Buildings had found that a safety device on the other elevator in the 23-story tower was “tampered with” and “rendered inoperative.” The city Department of Investigation opened a probe of the grisly incident.
Tenants of the building said the elevators had a history of problems.
“There were complaints being made by the tenants, the management knew this was not working properly and they didn’t take steps to fix it,” said Peter Saghir, an attorney who is representing the Waisbren family and the other passengers in the lift.
The family in late August filed papers in Manhattan Supreme Court demanding that all evidence relating to the incident be kept safe as they prepare to file a wrongful-death lawsuit against the building owners and elevator company.
In honor of their son, Laura and Charles Waisbren started the Sam Waisbren Memorial Basketball Program, a free initiative for kids to learn to read and then play basketball in their home of Milwaukee, Wisconsin.