Woman who drove off Austin parking garage sues garage owner

A woman who drove off the seventh floor of a downtown Austin parking garage has filed a lawsuit against the garage owner and management company.
Christi Bowmer was the second person to drive over the ledge of that garage.

The lawsuit states necessary repairs weren't made after the first incident.

July 13, Bowmer planned to park her car in the Littlefield parking garage and head to work, but when she realized the only thing keeping her from driving off the seventh floor were five cable barricades, she freaked out and hit the gas by mistake.

“I just saw myself go straight down and then, I mean, I hit the gas line, I guess, on the way down on the other building, which is not very far apart, and then I went straight down and crashed. And I was awake the whole time and it was the most horrific thing that I have ever been through,” Bowmer said.

Christi said someone pulled her out of the car likely saving her life. As she waited for an ambulance a kind of guardian angel helped her stay calm.

“He comes and sits at my elbow and he just starts praying. And then this other man comes out and I knew that I was gone. I thought I was gone and so I asked if they could let me use their phone. And so they called my husband for me so I could say goodbye to my husband and my daughter,” said Bowmer.

Christi survived and after several surgeries she is doing much better than she or doctors had expected.

“Apart from the head trauma, which almost got me, I have a fractured sternum, fractured ribs, I have a fractured scapula, I have a broken tibia, I have a fractured ankle and L4 in my spine exploded,” Bowmer said.

Christie admits she hit the wrong pedal, but said the owner of the garage should've had a better barricade system in place to keep her from plummeting to the alley below.

“I mean, just like a car manufacturer puts in a seat belt, because you know that there’s a possibility of a crash, they have the same responsibility and yet they did nothing,” said Bowmer. 

Christi is especially frustrated knowing something similar happened to a driver in the same garage ten months prior.

That time, a man on the ninth floor hit the wrong pedal and his vehicle was left dangling with a cable wrapped around his front tire. He was able to climb out with help from a witness.

“This should not have happened. It already happened once and they didn't do anything about it and then for this to happen again is unacceptable,” Bowmer said. 

Bowmer's lawyer said if repairs were made correctly after the first incident, she wouldn't have suffered such injuries.

“What we found after the fact is that the cables were in poor condition. The tension was not appropriate. Perhaps the cable system should not have been used at all,” said Randy Howry, Bowmer’s attorney. 

In a statement sent to FOX 7 in July, the parking garage owner said Austin code officers inspected and approved repairs to the garage following the first incident.

Bowmer is seeking $1 million in damages. She said her medical bills are expected to be even higher than that, but more importantly she wants to make sure this doesn't happen again.

She hopes to find the man who pulled her out of the car and the man who prayed with her so she is able to thank them.