Report: Safety device was disabled on NYC elevator

JENNIFER PELTZ Associated Press Published:

NEW YORK (AP) -- Investigators say an important elevator safety system was turned off when an advertising executive was crushed to death at a Manhattan office building.

The city investigation and buildings departments released the findings Monday.

Suzanne Hart was killed when an elevator started rising with its doors open Dec. 14. She was dragged between the car and the wall.

Workers had adjusted the elevator that morning. A mechanic told investigators he'd temporarily overridden a system that prevented the elevator from moving with its doors open. He said the mechanism was back online before Hart arrived.

But the report says the mechanism "was apparently bypassed at the time of the fatal incident."

The mechanic's lawyer says he's cooperated completely with the investigation. Transel Elevator Inc. says it cooperated and will contest the findings.