Boston University mourns loss of lecturer who died in Allston elevator accident

ALLSTON, MASS. (WHDH) - State inspectors were back on scene Tuesday — less than 24 hours after a woman was killed in a tragic elevator accident at an apartment building in Allston.

Carrie O’Connor, 38, died of traumatic asphyxiation after getting trapped between the elevator car and the first floor of her new apartment building on Commonwealth Avenue around 5:15 p.m., according to Boston police.

Neighbors say she had just moved into the building and was trying to put a large box into the old elevator.

“They believe she tripped some sensor that let the elevator know the doors were closed and it started moving on her,” Nevada Foskit, who lives in the building, said.

O’Connor taught French and was entering her fourth year with the school.

On the university’s website, Department Chair Odile Cazenave wrote, “Already then, and even more so now, she was an intrinsic part of the French section and the department at large.”

The Virginia native’s mother, Christal O’Connor also told the university her daughter loved to travel and, “She said you shouldn’t be able to graduate college without traveling… I don’t even know all the different countries she’s been to.”

At the building where O’Connor lived — her neighbors are still in shock.

Leanne Scorzonni, who lives on the first floor of the apartment building, recalled hearing someone yelling before she ran out to help.

“I heard probably one of the worst screams I have ever heard in my life. I heard the gentleman screaming and hyperventilating saying, ‘She’s dead, she’s dead,” she said. “The ceiling of the car was right at my level, which is the first floor, below us is the basement, so the car had gone all the way down or at least halfway down because I couldn’t see her at all. Just the cables.”

Eric Carmichael said his wife was home at the time and also tried to help.

“She heard a woman in distress and sort of tried to help her out as a neighbor,” he said. “But there was, you know, she couldn’t really help out that lady.”

A state inspector was called to the scene Monday night to check the elevator, which has had problems in the past.

On Sept. 1, 2018, someone got trapped between the elevator car and the first floor. Just 10 days later, another person got stuck above the fourth floor.

“The Office of Public Safety and Inspections responded to an elevator incident in Boston that tragically resulted in a fatality. 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. “The elevator was recently inspected and was certified in accordance with state regulations.  The department extends its deepest sympathies to the loved ones of the victim during this difficult time.”

O’Connor is survived by her mother, father, brother, and sister-in-law.

No further details have been released.

This is a developing story; stay with 7NEWS on-air and online for the latest updates.

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