A 25-year-old Bronx, N.Y., man who was on his way to a New Year’s Eve party on the Lower East Side is being hailed as a hero after pushing a woman from a defective elevator that crushed him to death moments later in front of stunned onlookers.
Stephen Hewett Brown, an aspiring musician, pushed Erude Sanchez, 43, from the elevator as it began to drop, saying “Happy New Year.” Ms. Sanchez was exiting the elevator onto the third floor of the 26-story apartment high-rise at 131Broome Street when Mr. Brown apparently noticed her predicament as the elevator started to fall and pushed her to safety.
Mr. Brown then became pinned between the elevator’s ceiling and the third-floor entrance, with his legs hanging into the car, the New York Daily News reported. People trapped inside the malfunctioning elevator tried to help him and dialed 911 as Mr. Brown screamed violently in pain.
“He was just screaming,” Alisha Jiminez, 23, told the New York Daily News. “He was screaming that he couldn’t breathe. We tried to help him. And the elevator door kept opening and closing on him.”
Mr. Brown was rushed to New York Hospital in traumatic arrest, but died from his injuries on the way.
The New York Daily News reported that records on file with the New York City Department of Buildings showed the residential high-rise had a history of mechanical problems and safety violations going back to 2012.
Most recently, the Grand Street Guild East HDFC, which owns the building, was hit with two Environmental Control Board violations in August for its failure to maintain the elevator in a “code compliant manner,” the New York Daily News reported.
A hearing for those citations was set for Dec. 31, the day Mr. Brown was killed by the defective elevator. The building also had three open violations for “failure to correct defects” in the elevator, according to the New York Daily News.
“It was just a matter of time for something like this to happen,” Dashia Imperiali, president of the building tenant association from 2006-11, told the New York Daily News. “It jumps a couple of floors. It goes down and then it goes up. This should never have happened.”
Source: New York Daily News