BOSTON (WHDH) – Police are investigating the death of a man who apparently fell through a decrepit staircase near an MBTA station, devastating his family and co-workers at Boston University.
Dr. David Jones, who taught in the Department of Health Law, Policy and Management, died on Saturday, Dean and Robert A. Knox Professor Sandro Galea announced in a letter to the community.
“In truth, I have no words to describe the devastation of this news,” Galea wrote.
“He was the most loving, kind, considerate person I knew,” Jones’ wife Sarah posted on social media. “He was the best father. He loved to dance to Phish, be outdoors, and run. He loved unconditionally and was the proudest father to his kids. I loved him.”
Jones, 40, was found dead under a stairway that connects Old Colony Road to the Columbia Road overpass across from the JFK MBTA Station around 1:30 p.m., according to state police.
Detectives reportedly observed a gap in the stairs above Jones’ body. The stairs, which are state property, had been deemed unsafe and closed for about 20 months, state police said.
“The stairs have been terrible for a long, long time. They should have been taken down a long time ago,” said MBTA passenger Romaine Godfrey on Monday.
“The story itself is a terrible tragedy. There is an investigation going on at this point in time and I want to let that investigation proceed before we comment more on it,” Governor Charlie Baker said.
In a statement, Suffolk County District Attorney Rachael Rollins wrote:
“We continue to look at how Dr. Jones accessed a stairway that had been closed for some 20 months. Whether accidental or intentional, any death is a tragedy and the harm to loved ones is the same. While the investigation is ongoing, we are available to offer his family support and connect them to community resources through our victim witness assistance program.’’
Jones joined BU’s School of Public Health in 2014 and was the founding editor-in-chief of the Public Health post.
He received multiple awards including AUPHA’s John D. Thompson Prize for Young Investigators, AcademyHealth’s Outstanding Dissertation Award, and the BU School of Public Health Excellence in Teaching Award.
“He cared deeply about bridging research and policy, and conducted work in places as far as France and the Mississippi Delta,” Galea continued. “And above all David was a wonderful human being, living with integrity and a deep commitment to all we do. I have so loved all my interactions with David, I cannot really imagine what it means to not have David as part of our community.”
“I told my wife if they show me where the morgue is I might try to ask God to bring him back from the dead,” said friend and neighbor Ohene Asare. “He was that meaningful and it feels like such loss.”
Faculty and staff who wish to gather in remembrance of Jones can meet in the Founder’s Room and via Zoom Monday from 1 to 2 p.m.
Space will also be held for students in the classes that Jones taught during his regularly scheduled class time Tuesday.
Resources are being made available in the coming week. Friends have set up a GoFundMe page for Jones’ family.
“In the meantime, our thoughts are with David’s family and all his loved ones,” Galea wrote. “May we all live with intentionality and grace in honor of David’s memory.”
This is a developing news story; stay with 7NEWS for updates online and on-air.
(Copyright (c) 2021 Sunbeam Television. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)