Boston University professor Carrie O'Connor was crushed to death by an elevator last month and investigators found that she may have met her fate because of a very large package she was carrying at the time of the accident.
The professor can be seen in surveillance video footage carrying a box appearing to be about seven-and-a-half-feet tall that pressed up against a switch meant to tell the elevator that the door is closed. The "birdcage" style elevator requires the doors to be closed manually by the occupant which O'Connor did not have a chance to do before the package hit the switch and sent the elevator into a free-fall while the door was still open.
Inspector Martin Guiod of the Massachusetts Office of Public Safety and Inspections said in his report that a maintenance person in the basement pressed the call button at the same time O'Connor was entering the elevator with the large package and before she was safely inside with the door secured.
The elevator's descent was briefly halted when the box O'Connor was carrying slipped from the switch and braced up against the wall of the shaft, but when she shifted the package again it moved back to the door switch indicating the door was closed.
From what can be seen on the video footage, O'Connor then disappeared from view indicating "that she had called backward into the hoistway between the 1st floor and basement floor."
O'Connor's body was later discovered pinned between the elevator box and the wall of the shaft.
Inhabitants of the building were shocked to learn of the professor's death.
Leanne Scorzoni, a resident in the building, told reporters, "I heard someone that was bringing in a package out in the hallway, and then I heard an ungodly scream."
“Then we ran out into the hallway, and we saw a gentleman who was obviously in distress," she continued. "He was screaming and hyperventilating, saying, ‘She’s dead! She’s dead!’"
The autopsy indicated that O'Connor died of "traumatic asphyxiation."
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