A 40-year-old professor from Boston University died after falling through a gap in a public staircase, which was closed off due to disrepair and maintenance.
Dr. David Jones of Milton, Massachusetts, was found dead on Saturday, Sept. 11, near the JFK/UMass Red Line T station at about 1:30 p.m., Massachusetts State Police said, according to The Boston Globe, that the staircase he was found underneath was “deemed unsafe and closed for approximately 20 months.”
Now, the wife of David Jones formally blamed the MBTA and Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT) for his death, in a lawsuit filed in Suffolk Superior Court.
In her suit, on behalf of herself and their three children, Sarah Sacuto of Milton says the state let the public keep using the stairway from the station up to Old Colony Avenue even though they knew it was on the verge of collapse. Jones, a public-health professor, was headed up from the station level as part of a daily jog when he fell through a gap in the steps and then 20 feet to the ground on Sept. 13, 2021.
Sacuto accused the two government bodies failed to either keep the stairway safe or to have blocked it and nearby sidewalk sections off and warned the public to stay away. Instead “the plaintiff’s decedent was unwittingly both encouraged and permitted to access the dangers associated with the “subject staircase” and, as a direct and proximate results, caused to fall, sustain injury, suffer and death.”
However, according to a police investigation a few days after Jones’ death, the staircase had been blocked and posted with warnings 20 months earlier.
In fact, the closed-off stairway was blocked by a wire fence and a chain link fence, plus more barriers, authorities said.
Also in the days following his death, the MBTA, MassDOT, and DCR could not agree on whose responsibility the stairway was. Finally, after several days, MassDOT workers removed the entire staircase.
In January, acting Suffolk County District Attorney Kevin Hayden said Jones’s death was tragic but that, ultimately, there was nobody to blame criminally for Jones’s death. Hayden’s statement did not address how the bottom of the stairs was or was not blocked off.
Sacuto’s complaint charges wrongful death, conscious pain and suffering, and loss of consortium for herself and loss of consortium for her children.
Watch the video report below for more details: