prying open elevator doors

NY Construction Worker Crushed Trying to Exit Stuck Elevator

Aug. 2, 2017
The family of construction worker Steven Simpson knew he wouldn’t miss his son’s ninth birthday party and tried to report him as a missing person.

Steven Simpson, a construction worker from Brooklyn, N.Y., made a fatal choice on July 22 when he returned alone to his work site, a luxury apartment building under construction, to retrieve something he forgot. Simpson apparently became stuck in an elevator during a power outage in the building and, not wanting to miss his son’s ninth birthday party, pried open the doors and tried to crawl out.

When power was unexpectedly restored, the elevator began to move, crushing Simpson between the doors of the elevator and the floor.

Simpson’s family started looking for him when he didn’t return home that night and didn’t respond to their urgent phone calls. Using an app, they traced his phone to the construction site, but no one was there to let them in. They tried to report him to the police as a missing person, but were told to come back with more information.

A coworker coming in to work the next day found him and called the police at 7 a.m. Simpson was pronounced dead at the scene.

Crystal Mack, Simpson's wife, told WNBC in New York: “He knows it was his son's birthday and he knows my birthday is in September. He wanted to do something for me for my birthday so he's working to get this extra money and now he's gone.” 

Simpson’s employer called the situation “tragic,” adding, “Our hearts go out to the family and friends of the victim.”

About the Author

Sandy Smith

Sandy Smith is the former content director of EHS Today, and is currently the EHSQ content & community lead at Intelex Technologies Inc. She has written about occupational safety and health and environmental issues since 1990.

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