FOR THE RECORD: This story contained an error about the number of clients who used walkers. The quote should have said, “Every single customer for the salon was elderly and 30 percent used walkers.”
Gene Marie Gann’s regular outing from her apartment at Albuquerque’s Paloma Landing to the beauty parlor at Three Fountains Casa Ltd. senior living community was a highlight of the 86-year-old’s week.
But one day in February 2010, the hairdresser wasn’t there to greet Gene at the top of the stairs. Gann proceeded up the four steps by herself, with her walker, while her 96-year-old companion waited.
Gann reached the landing – the railing stopped a full foot before it – and lost her balance. She teetered and fell backwards, her head smacking the floor with a sound “like an egg cracking,” as her friend told a jury.