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DA: Nobody to blame criminally for professor's death at stairs outside JFK/UMass T stop

The Suffolk County District Attorney's office says there's nobody to charge for the way Boston University professor David Jones died by falling 20 feet through missing stairs outside the JFK/UMass Red Line stop last September.

In a brief statement, acting DA Kevin Hayden said:

Any death is a tragedy and his family, loved ones, students, and colleagues continue to mourn his untimely passing. Based on a thorough and careful review of the evidence, however, we have determined that criminal charges are not warranted in connection with Dr. Jones’ death.

Hayden's statement does not discuss how Jones, an avid runner, got on the staircase, which the state had blocked off 20 months earlier., but says he had started running up the stairs from the area of the station before falling to his death.

In the days after the public-health professor died, state agencies pointed fingers at each other over just who was responsible for doing something about the stairs. Days after his death, MassDOT workers simply removed the entire staircase.

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Comments

Does no one know if the stair was blocked off? Was it evident to any reasonable person that the stair was a danger? If we don’t know, why don’t we know?

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Voting closed 13

Do you seriously think the DA didn’t look into this?

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Voting closed 56

That doesn't answer the question.

The question was: was the stairwell blocked off and signed.

The question was not: did the DA look into this.

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Voting closed 32

You’re going to have to provide more. Show your work

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Voting closed 39

Please answer the original question, dear.

I don't have to show any work - you have to answer the original question with an actual answer: was there adequate closure of the staircase and signage?

The DA looking into and knowing the answer to this question is highly likely.

HOWEVER, THAT DOES NOT MEAN THAT AN ANSWER TO THIS QUESTION HAS BEEN MADE PUBLIC!

I'm not sure whether you are being deliberately obtuse here, or if you are just obtuse.

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Voting closed 21

You answered my question. Show proof. You can throw around all the condescending and capitalization you want, but you answered my question so show how you know without throwing a temper tantrum.

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Voting closed 46

Well, that's her thing. Sorry you had to endure it.

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Voting closed 45

This was brought up when it first happened. I used to live in the area and moved just a couple months before he died, the top had a chain link fence held in place with a jersey barrier and the bottom was another chain link fence held in place with cement feet on the posts. It wasn't something you could just brush past, you would have to deliberately and consciously make a choice to do so. In addition the stairwell looked in bad shape with stairs having already haven fallen out months before, he no doubt though he had found a shortcut and though he could just jump over the gap.

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Voting closed 30

The prior, Sept'21, discussions here: https://www.universalhub.com/2021/public-health-professor-bu-dies-fall-u... has links to pictures that predate the fall.

Were they blocked off well enough so that no one all could get thru who might try? Not to my definition. The construction fencing could have been chained and locked to the staircase so no one could move it aside. And, fencing could have been looped around to block off the banisters too (when I was a kid, we loved to "walk up" stairs like that on the outside holding onto the banister. Or we just climbed thru the banister.).

Not to mention wire fencing can be cut with wire cutters. Even heavy wire fencing if one gets the right kind of cutters.

(don't get me wrong here. I am not saying that this gentleman did any of that - and I don't think he did. My bet is someone or someones tampered with the "blockade" very quickly after it went up. Well over a year before this incident. And most likely it was never inspected and better re-secured)

Evident to any reasonable person that it was a danger? To my definition, yes. That fencing was flimsy, but to me it did say stay away.

A tragedy. I feel for Dr. Jones and his family.

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Voting closed 17

I lived there. No one tampered with the blockade. It was intact and untouched from the day it went up till the last time I saw in in July 21.

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Voting closed 31

Were they blocked off well enough so that no one all could get thru who might try a reasonable person would know not to try and get through?

There, fixed it for you.

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Voting closed 16

Determine which state agency was responsible for the stairway to heaven. DCR said it wasn't their fault and the MBTA claimed it wasn't their problem? Which agency was lying?

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Voting closed 12

Just the bloated incompetent bureaucracy.
If any of us owned those stairs we would be charged.

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Voting closed 21

If any of us owned those stairs we would be charged.

Nobody gets charged for killing pedestrians. See every time a person gets run down in a crosswalk.

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Voting closed 41

Too bad you gave yourself a black eye when your knee jerked.

This is entirely the result of your and my reps and senators not doing their homework.

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Voting closed 12

The MBTA, DCR, etc prepared a list of properties they maintained and gave it to the legislature. Was this stairwell on that list? If not, it's not the fault of the legislature. They can't be accused of forgetting what they weren't told.

In the end, MassDOT (which controls the MBTA in the org chart) owned up and said, yeah, the stairwell is theirs. So clearly there was some document that listed the stairwell as under their control.

Regardless, this didn't happen overnight. In 20 months since it was "closed off" by the MBTA, no one from these agencies met to discuss who would actually fix the damn thing. That's the failure in my book, not some missing row in an excel file from 20 years ago.

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Voting closed 15

Ok, if you say so.

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Voting closed 14

As neither of them works for the Massachusetts Department of Transportation. I could add a bit more, but we are talking about a dead man here.

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Voting closed 11

No one individual is to blame

Except the professor. He misjudged.

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Voting closed 41

He definitely misjudged, but those stairs should have been removed.

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Voting closed 17

... showing the state of the stairway (including signage -- and what the state of its blocking off) was on the day the professor used it (and died)? Knowing what it was like even a few days earlier would not show if someone had messed around with it before the fall occurred.

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Voting closed 11

All taken before the accident. The question was raised: Is this what the area looked like when he died? Yes. We all asked if any of them had been moved since the accident and were told no. These stairs are in a very visible, public area and it's not like anyone could put a fence back up without everyone seeing it. The only question left is why the deceased though climbing over a fence and down a rotted-out stairwell was a good idea.

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Voting closed 9

I thought of potential disasters like this due to crumbling stations and stairways of MBTA stations when I was exiting Downtown Crossing at Washington. So many leaks in crumbling ceiling with the yellow foldup caution signs in the puddles of water. Everything looks all wrong. Homeless urinating and smoking in Station. I'm definitely not new, so I just keep on keeping on my way. But I don't want anyone to get hit in the head by a falling piece of plaster and deteriorating concrete. Be careful people and look up and not down at phones.

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Voting closed 17