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Don't text while walking? Girl learns the hard way

A 15-year-old Staten Island girl drops into open manhole while texting. Who's to blame? The girl, the city, or the parents now intent on suing?

We've seen stories on the dangers of DWT (driving while texting). But are we now facing the growing problem of WWT (walking while texting)?

Alexa Longueira,a 15-year-old from Staten Island, learned a painful lesson about the hazards of texting recently. While intent on text messaging as she walked on a sidewalk along the New York borough's Victory Boulevard, she stepped right into an open manhole, sending her several feet into the raw sewage below.

Suffering some cuts and bruises, Longueira was checked out at Staten Island University Hospital and released.

The manhole had been left open briefly by the Department of Environmental Protection just as workers were grabbing some cones to cordon off the area.

"It was four or five feet, it was very painful. I kind of crawled out and the DEP guys came running and helped me," Longueria told local newspaper The Staten Island Advance. "They were just, like, 'I'm sorry! I'm sorry!"

For its part, the agency is treating the accident seriously.

"The DEP is conducting a full investigation of what happened during a manhole incident on Victory Blvd. where workers were flushing a high-pressure sewer on Wednesday evening. We regret that this happened and wish the young woman a speedy recovery," said DEP spokeswoman Mercedes Padilla.

Jumping into action, the parents have already said they're considering a lawsuit. Mother Kim Longueira holds the DEP at fault, telling FOXNews, "Something like that should never have happened. There should have been cones in place, there should have been a man in place."

Mother Longueira was particularly upset about the sewage. "Oh my God, it was putrid." she said. "One of her sneakers is still down there."

This is hardly the first case of the hazards of walking while texting. Chris Matyszczyk, a blogger for CNET News, has bumped into his share of problems with text walkers. Video from a CBS news report on CNET also points out the dangers of texting while walking, especially on crowded city streets.

To be fair, we've probably all been guilty at one time or another of focusing more on our gadgets than on the world around us. Is this something that could have happened to any of us?

CNET forums, meanwhile, have already seen comments from people weighing in on this latest incident. What's your opinion? Who's to blame? And will the DEP ever recover the lost sneaker?