Woman says poor lighting at Charlotte apartments led to fall, broken hip

CHARLOTTE — A woman says poor lighting at her east Charlotte apartment complex led to a fall that she’s still recovering from.

Miriam Rowe said she was walking downstairs in the dark to meet her friends. When she got to the second to last step, she fell and broke her hip.

“I’m mad as hell that happened to me, too,” she said. “Because I shouldn’t have to be going through this. I should be living my life.”

Instead, Rowe said she’s learning how to walk again. She blames Sailboat Bay Apartments in east Charlotte.

“I want them to know what I’ve been through, what I went through with all of this. Because of their negligence to put up lights,” she said.

Her attorney sent video to Channel 9′s Almiya White of the pitch black corridor and stairwells outside. Rowe says it was like that for more than a year, and her complaints went unheard.

‘I couldn’t move’

Rowe said on the night of March 12, she was walking down the steps of her apartment building when her life turned upside down.

“I couldn’t see that they had no lights out in the breezeway or on the steps,” she said. “Couldn’t see anything.”

“Once I got to the bottom step, I missed the last step. And I just fell,” she added, saying, “I couldn’t move.”

Rowe landed in the hospital with a broken hip. Medical records show that led to a total hip replacement.

“That scared me to death,” Rowe said, adding, “I’ve never broken anything.”

She said what broke her even more was the lack of acknowledgement from her complex.

“Like a slap in the face, like they don’t care that something’s happened to someone,” she said.

‘First-world rent ... third-world conditions’

Kevin Edwards with Edwards Injury Law is representing Rowe.

“I like to refer to this as a case that people were obligated to pay first-world rent, but then they had to live in third-world conditions. And to me, that’s unacceptable,” Edwards said.

He sent a letter to the complex asking them to correct the issue on March 21. To this day, Edwards said he never received a response back.

Reporter Almiya White emailed the complex Wednesday morning, but she also didn’t hear anything back. A Channel 9 photographer drove to Rowe’s apartment building that same night and noticed the lights were fixed.

Rowe said it was the first time they had come on in more than a year.

“It shouldn’t take an attorney reaching out to them, or a news channel reaching out to them, for them to fix the lights,” Edwards said.

Rowe said it shouldn’t take an injury for her voice to finally be heard.

“It shouldn’t have happened. They should have kept this apartment complex up,” she said, adding, “I should be doing things and I can’t. I’m stuck.”

Rowe said she’s not only dealing with the physical pain, but the mental pain as well.

“My life is not going to be the same, I’m sure, with going anywhere,” she said.

Edwards Injury Law will file a lawsuit in the coming weeks.

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Almiya White

Almiya White, wsoctv.com

Almiya White is a reporter for WSOC-TV

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