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Boston University lecturer, 38, crushed to death in elevator while carrying heavy package to her new apartment

An investigation into the incident has determined that Carrie O'Connor's death was an accident, and not a malfunction of the elevator
(Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

ALSTON, MASSACHUSETTS: A Boston University lecturer was found crushed to death in an elevator shaft in a tragic accident. An investigator's report has detailed exactly how the event occurred. Carrie O'Connor, 38, was killed on September 14 while moving heavy furniture into her new apartment block in Alston. She had just signed the lease for the new apartment. The Massachusetts Office of Public Safety and Inspections released their findings from their investigation into her death on October 23, which reveal that she was trying to move an 80 pound package on her own. Trying to load the package into the elevator is how the accident occurred. The birdcage-style elevator, which has been in the building for around 60 years, requires two doors to be shut before the elevator can go up or down - one door on each floor, and one on the cage itself.

An unidentified male neighbor had, according to the Boston Globe, helped to manually open the exterior door for O'Connor, who had been struggling with the 7.5 foot tall package. He left before the interior door had been closed. At the same time, a maintenance person who had been working in the basement pressed the call button, "signaling the system to send the elevator down as soon the interior door closed."

When O'Connor lost control of the heavy package while inside the elevator, it hit the emergency stop switch, allowing the elevator to move despide the interior door still being open. According to the report, O'Connor was trapped between the open door and the wall, and was crushed as the elevator descended. The entire incident had been captured on security cameras. In the report, Inspector Martin Guiod absolved the building of negligence, claiming that the elevator was found not to have malfucntioned. "Based upon my technical inspection, my investigation, and my observation of the video, there is no indication that any malfunction occurred with the elevator. It is my conclusion that the elevator was operating as designed."

Tenant Leanne Scorzoni spoke to the Boston Globe about the incident, detailing what she heard from the aforementioned unidentified man. "I heard it, he saw everything," she said. "He was helping her with a box into the building and he was going up the stairs, and he told her 'Hey, just be careful because it's an old-fashioned elevator.'" She described the scene itself as "horrifying."

"He just said 'Oh, I don't think that's gonna fit in there.' And then she's like, 'Oh, I'll try it one more time'. And then I heard her screaming, and I heard him screaming," she said, adding that the man was pointing and screaming when she left her first floor apartment. "When I looked at the elevator, it was not there. Only the ceiling of the car was on my floor, so all the cables were there," she said.

O'Connor, according to her Boston Universit bio, taught "a wide range of courses throughout her career, including French language, French for Business, Conversational French, French literature in translation, and French culture through gastronomy."