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A repair crew's alleged violations of city code preceded Suzanne Hart's horrific death in a New York City elevator shaft, a city investigation has found. Criminal charges are possible.
Crews with Transel Elevator Inc. purposely disabled a safety device to access the elevator while making repairs Dec. 14, and allowed the elevator to move with its doors open, the city's Buildings Department found in its investigation, according to The New York Times.
But as crews completed their work, they failed to re-enable the safety device, investigators found. Transel's license has been suspended, and the firm was cited for endangering public safety, the New York Daily News reports.
Manhattan's district attorney is also considering possible criminal charges, according to the Daily News.
The possible charges are likely in response to the Transel Elevator crew's alleged violations of city code, The Times reports. Specifically, the crew allegedly failed to post warnings that elevator repairs were underway, and failed to call the Buildings Department for a required inspection before allowing the elevator to resume service.
In Suzanne Hart's elevator death, timing was also a factor. Surveillance video shows Transel repair crews leaving the building at 9:55 a.m., The Times reports. Just one minute later, Hart stepped into the elevator and was killed.
The city's findings, and possible criminal consequences, will also affect civil lawsuits in connection with Suzanne Hart's NYC elevator death. The repair crew's alleged failures seem to suggest they breached a duty of care in handling the elevator's repair, which could make them liable for damages in a negligence suit.