Ohio State Student Killed by Malfunctioning Elevator

Published: October 25, 2006

COLUMBUS, Ohio – An Ohio State University freshman was crushed and killed by a dormitory elevator on Oct. 20.

Andrew Polakowski, 18, entered an already packed elevator in Stradley Hall when it descended with the doors still open. As it descended, Polakowski attempted to escape through an opening between the top of the elevator and third floor of the building. The elevator pinned him, however, and he died of mechanical asphyxia.

A medic who interviewed the 24 students who were in the elevator when the accident occurred said the elevator had exceeded its weight capacity by approximately 1,000 pounds. However, authorities have yet to conclusively attribute the elevator malfunction to the extra weight.

University President Karen Holbrook called for an independent review of all dormitory elevators, and on Oct. 24, six of the 29 that were given standard brake tests failed inspection. Those six will be pulled out of service until they can be repaired and recertified.

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The elevator involved in the accident had passed an inspection in August 2003, as well as three spot checks this past year.

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