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Human error blamed in elevator accident that killed Boston University teacher

State inspectors said a fatal elevator accident in Boston was caused by human error and not a mechanical problem. Officers found 38-year-old Carrie O'Connor, a lecturer at Boston University, in the elevator on the first floor of a building in the city's Allston neighborhood on September 14.

Carrie O'Connor Boston University

In a report released late Friday and obtained by CBS Boston, inspectors said O'Connor was moving a large package into the elevator when it struck a gate switch at the top of the car.

A maintenance person was in the basement and had called for the elevator.

Inspectors said O'Connor hit the "go" button in the old-fashioned elevator, which cause the accident. When the package struck the gate switch, the elevator began moving towards the basement.

She then became pinned between the wall and the elevator. Police said O'Connor died of traumatic asphyxia. The inspector's report said, "there is no indication that any malfunction occurred with the elevator."  

Carrie O'Connor was killed when in an elevator accident in September. Inspector's Elevator Incident Report

Leanne Scorzoni, a tenant in the building, was a witness who ran to help when she heard screams.

"It was horrifying. I would never want ever again, it wasn't a cry. I can't even describe what it was," Scorzoni told CBS Boston.

O'Connor was a lecturer in French at Boston University. A spokesperson said she began working at BU in 2019 and was well-liked by her colleagues. Her parents told the college that she loved to travel and cook.

Her profile on the university's website says she earned a BS degree from Virginia Tech, an MA degree from Middlebury College and a PhD in French Studies at Louisiana State University.

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