In a disturbing coincidence given yesterday’s tragic death in an elevator accident at 285 Madison Avenue, the Brooklyn district attorney’s office today announced the indictment of an elevator repairman who disabled a safety switch in an elevator at SUNY Downstate Medical Center in Brooklyn last year. The Dec. 25, 2010 incident left a 47-year-old woman injured.
A statement from the DA’s office said that the charges against Jason Jordan, 27, include assault in the first degree and reckless endangerment. The elevator repairman disabled the switch that prevents the elevator from moving while the doors are open and failed to post a sign indicating the elevator was undergoing repair. Jordan faces up to 25 years in prison if convicted.
The timing of the indictment was in no way connected to yesterday’s accident, a spokesperson for the DA’s office said.
The woman’s injuries could easily have been fatal had the accident not happened in a hospital, the spokesperson said. Her injuries, which included compound fractures and multiple lacerations, kept her in the hospital for three months, the spokesperson said.
“Everyone’s worst nightmare is to be trapped by a moving elevator, and due to Jordan’s depravity, this victim lived that nightmare on Christmas Day, as she watched her arm and leg get crushed and torn apart,” said District Attorney Christopher Hynes.
In May, whistle-blowers from the New York City Housing Authority came forward and said inspectors were being forced to fudge reports and take shortcuts. Inspectors said they often failed to shut down elevators in need of maintenance due to pressure from supervisors obsessed with meeting their quotas.
State Assemblyman Keith Wright, who represents Harlem’s 70th district, has sponsored a bill that would tighten regulations on professionals who maintain and repair elevators. The bill would make “the contractors, inspectors and people who install and maintain these machines responsible for the safety of the public,” according to its Facebook page. — Guelda Voien