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Columbus, Ohio

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Scott Smith
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College Dorm Elevator Crash Kills Student

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An Ohio State University college dormitory elevator did not brake properly causing it to crash resulting in the death of a college student. Andy Polakowski, attempted to exit the disabled open elevator door located in Stradley Hall when it fell crushing him to death between the opening of the door and the next floor.

Testing of the elevator October 24 revealed the brake system failed. Further testing also revealed five other campus elevators were defective and as a result were shut down. Due to the high incidence of defective elevators discovered, all 47 OSU dormitory elevators were to be tested. Experts opined even if the elevator was had too many people or was overloaded beyond the weight capacity, the elevator braking system was designed to keep the car from moving. Although the Stradley Hall elevator was presumably overloaded when it fell, the expert stated it would be nearly impossible to put enough people on a properly functioning elevator to make it move. Police Chief Rick Amweg said the students were not engaging in a prank nor was alcohol a contributing factor.

Review of OSU records reveal complaints about dormitory elevators was common on campus. From Oct. 1, 2005 to Sept. 3, 2006, six service calls were recorded to Stradley Hall for the same elevator that crushed Polakowski. The student’s wrongful death is still under investigation.