Lawsuit Filed In Tulsa Woman's Death During Hurricane Harvey

Tuesday, June 5th 2018, 7:01 pm
By: News On 6

The family of a Tulsa woman who drowned during Hurricane Harvey is suing the hotel she died in.

The lawsuit mentions several new details about the last moments of Jill Renick’s life including surveillance video from the basement where she drowned and first-hand accounts from people who heard her screaming for help. 

Jill's family is suing several companies including Omni Hotels and Resorts and Otis Elevator Company for negligence, claiming Jill's death was terrifying, horrific and easily preventable. 

The lawsuit claims the hotel, despite its history of flooding, did not take basic precautions to protect their guests like making sure the elevators had flood sensors. 

Once Hurricane Harvey hit, the lawsuit claims hotel staff did not shut down the elevators or put up warning signs despite surveillance video showing several hotel employees wading through the floodwater.

The lawsuit claims this negligence caused the elevator Jill was inside to stall and flood. 

9/7/2017 Related Story: Family 'Heartbroken' After Body Of Tulsa Native Missing In Houston Found

Also in the lawsuit is a call Jill made to the front desk asking for help.

The suit says surveillance video from the hotel does not show any employees responding to that call. 

Jill was able to get herself out of the elevator through a small opening but she couldn't get out of the basement which was flooding too.

Her body was found 11 days later. 

"We need to find out what really happened," said Jill’s sister Pam Eslinger. "The main thing is making sure that hopefully, this doesn't happen to someone else in a hotel setting or anywhere where there is [an] elevator."

News On 6 has reached out to Omni Hotels for comment, and they sent the following statement:

Thank you for reaching out. We can confirm we have received a lawsuit from Jill Renick’s family. We don’t comment on pending litigation, but we can say the entire Omni Hotels & Resorts family continues to mourn the loss of Jill.

Otis Elevators did not want to comment.