According to the New York Daily News, an elevator accident occurred at SUNY Downstate Medical Center in Brooklyn, NY, on Christmas Day, causing one woman’s leg to be horribly mangled. Firefighters that responded to the incident reported that the woman’s leg was trapped in the narrow gap between the elevator cab and the door sill. Firefighters cut power to the elevator and used clamps to secure the elevator car, before determining that a gas-powered cutting saw was needed to cut through the steel frame of the cab and the concrete eighth floor door sill. The woman was apparently visiting a sick relative at the hospital with her daughter, who witnessed the harrowing event. Read the full story by the Daily News, published December 25, 2010.
A comprehensive investigation into the circumstances leading to this incident determined that a mechanic for contractor Al-An Elevator, Jason Jordan (no relation), had used a wire jumper to bypass the elevator’s door interlock and gate switch circuits. The King’s County District Attorney’s office secured a felony assault indictment against the mechanic because he allegedly “fled the hospital without saying a word or offering help” after discovering that his actions had led to the victim’s injuries. Read the full story by the New York Times, published December 15, 2011.
At least a portion of the injury event was caught on surveillance video and was released to the media. The video, courtesy of ElevatorExpert.net and published by the New York Daily News, which does not include narration, first depicts a high-definition re-creation of the elevator’s movement with the doors open. Next is actual surveillance video of the injury to Ms. Jordan, which frighteningly depicts her casually stepping on to the elevator when it shoots up unexpectedly with the doors still open as her daughter looks on in horror, gazing into the dark, open hoistway where her mother was just standing a moment prior. Bystanders and hospital employees, even on different floors, all apparently heard Ms. Jordan’s screams as she was dragged up the hoistway, and rushed to her aid. However, the video then depicts the accused elevator mechanic walking down the stairs from the elevator motor room, gazing on the woman, still trapped at the 8th floor landing, then leaving the hospital post-haste, moments before dozens of firefighters arrived on the scene. The end of the video depicts some still photos of the aftermath of the rescue, depicting the gruesome amount of force required to extricate Ms. Jordan from the narrow space between the elevator cab and the door sill, which normally measures less than one inch in width. The final moments of the video depict a forensic re-creation of the injury event as it moves up at high speed with its doors will open.
This case was also the the subject of an episode of a CBS six-part mini-series titled “Brooklyn DA” which aired on June 29, 2013. The show depicts Kings County ADA Lawrence Oh as he works to investigate the accident and prosecute the mechanic.