Manhattan DA Launches Criminal Investigation into Elevator Tragedy at 285 Madison


Yesterday DNAinfo reported that the December 14 death of Young & Rubicam executive Suzanne Hart in an elevator at 285 Madison Avenue might have been prevented “if elevator repairmen had not violated city rules by rushing the lift back into service without the required O.K. from the Department of Buildings.” According to sources, Transel Elevator Inc. did not follow through with the mandatory notification to the DOB following their work on the elevator — that notification would have led to an independent inspection of the elevator, and, presumably, could have caught the glitch that led to Hart’s death before the elevator was boarded by passengers.

Now the New York Post reports that Manhattan DA Cyrus Vance has launched a criminal investigation into the accident, joining the DOB, the Department of Investigations, and the NYPD in seeking to uncover what caused Hart’s death. In the time since December 14, city inspectors have apparently written 11 violations against the 13 elevators serving the building — some far more serious than the “paperwork problems” cited as the violation associated with the elevator in which Hart died. Hearings on those violations begin next month.

Meanwhile, DNAinfo writes,

The Transel workers involved in the accident have “been less than cooperative” and have not yet been interviewed by city investigators, the source said, although the company has provided assistance in the probe.

Transel, as we’ve written previously, has already been sued eight times.

Suzanne Hart’s Death Could Have Been Avoided if Rules Followed, Sources Say [DNAinfo]
DA delves into elevator horror [NYP]