Boston University lecturer killed in 'horrifying' accident after elevator doors malfunction

A woman was trapped in elevator doors leading to her death
A woman was trapped in elevator doors leading to her death Photo credit: Boston University and Abodo

A Boston University lecturer has died in a "horrifying" accident after becoming trapped in an elevator doorway on Tuesday. 

Carrie O'Connor, a 38-year-old French professor, was asphyxiated when dragging a heavy package through an elevator door that malfunctioned an apartment building.

A tenant in the building, Leanne Scorzoni, told the Boston Globe that she spoke with a man who had helped O'Connor just before her death.

“It was horrifying,” she said "I heard it, he saw everything. He was helping her with a box into the building, and he was going up the stairs, and he had told her, ‘Hey, just be careful because it’s an old fashioned [elevator].’

"If you have something in (the door), it can trigger a sensor. And . . . he told me, he believes that whatever she was trying to get in there hit the sensor, and then it started moving.

"He was walking up the staircase and was just talking to her. And he just said, 'Oh, I don’t think that’s going to 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."

Her mother Christal O'Connor said Carrie was always interested in learning.

"We used to have to bribe her to stop her reading and get outside."

Records show that the elevator was inspected on March 26 and a 60-day notice was issued to fix a stop switch, but the necessary repairs were made according to Commonwealth Elevator.

A state inspector was called to the scene Monday night to check the elevator which has had problems in the past and the Office of Public Safety and Inspections responded to the tragedy.

"The incident is under investigation and the department will continue working with first responders and other authorities to determine the cause of this accident," Division of Professional Licensure spokesperson said in a statement.