Sarah Sacuto: Widow files lawsuit against state one year after husband falls 20 feet to death from rusty staircase

The victim, David K Jones, 40 was a public health professor at Boston University and is survived by his wife Sarah Sacuto, and three children

Sarah Sacuto: Widow files lawsuit against state one year after husband falls 20 feet to death from rusty staircase
David Jones' wife has sued the state for the wrongful death of her husband (GoFundMe)
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BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS: Sarah Sacuto, the widow of deceased public health professor David Jones, has filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the state- specifically, the MBTA and the Massachusetts Department of Transportation. The suit comes after the death of her husband after he fell through a rusted stairway owned by the state, the Daily Mail reports.

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Jones was on his morning jog when he went up the steps of a closed and partially blocked-of stairway near the MBTA stop. The steps were rusted beyond saving, causing them to collapse under Jones- he fell from a height of at least 20 feet. Now, a year after the professor’s unfortunate death, his widow has filed the lawsuit in her individual capacity, on behalf of her husband’s estate and her children. It is not clear how much she has sued the State for.

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“David Jones’s wrongful death and the damage to his estate were the direct and proximate result of the carelessness, recklessness and negligence of the defendant,” the suit reads. While the state had ruled the death to be an accident, Sacuto’s defense is that it could have been prevented if the state had properly blocked off the stairwell. “The defendants, by their neglect, had allowed the ‘subject staircase’ to degrade and fall into disrepair thereby causing it to be a danger to the public,” the lawsuit reads. “The defendants failed to take reasonable and adequate measures to prevent the public from accessing the ‘subject staircase’ due to its dangerous and compromised condition.”

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David Jones. (Photo: BU School of Public Health)
David Jones (BU School of Public Health)

The lawsuit also says that his “wrongful death and the damage to his estate were the direct and proximate result of the carelessness, recklessness and negligence” The Boston Herald reports that both the Massachusetts Department of Transportation and the MBTA has not issued any statements. “MassDOT does not offer public comment on pending litigation,” MassDOT spokesperson Jacquelyn Goddard had allegedly written in an email. A spokesperson for the MBTA also echoed the same sentiments. Joe Pesaturo said, “It is also the MBTA’s practice to not comment on pending litigation.”

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Interestingly, the MBTA had warned residents not to use the staircase in multiple tweets. In one such tweet, the MBTA said, "Reminder: The stairs between Columbia Road and Old Colony Avenue next to JFK/UMass Station is inaccessible until further notice. Please access the station from Sydney Street or Morrissey Boulevard/Mont Vernon Street while necessary repairs are being made."

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