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38-year-old woman killed in tragic elevator accident: 'It was horrifying'

Authorities in Boston are investigating after Carrie O'Connor, a French lecturer at Boston University, died in an elevator accident at her apartment building.
/ Source: TODAY

Authorities have launched an investigation after a woman in Boston was killed in an elevator accident at her apartment building on Monday.

Carrie O'Connor, 38, died on Monday of traumatic asphyxia in the Allston neighborhood of Boston after she was "trapped in the doorway of the first floor and the elevator," according to a police report obtained by The Boston Globe.

O'Connor, who was a French lecturer at Boston University, was moving something heavy into the elevator when the accident occurred, according to a neighbor who heard it.

"She was moving something in (the elevator) in a box because I could hear the box moving outside my door, and then I heard her screaming," first-floor tenant Leanne Scorzoni told NBC10 in Boston.

"It was horrifying. It wasn't a cry. I can't even describe what it was. I went out in the hall because I genuinely thought someone was being murdered."

Scorzoni told NBC10 she spoke with a man who told O'Connor that the box she was moving into the elevator wouldn't fit and that he thought the box somehow triggered the elevator to move before she was in it.

The elevator has to be completely shut before it will move, according to another resident.

"I'm thinking obviously something faulty must have happened," said Nevada Foskit, who also lives on the first floor and told NBC10 that he’d never experienced elevator issues before.

The elevator had been recently inspected and was in compliance with state regulations, Boston's Division of Professional Licensure told NBC10. The office is currently investigating O'Connor's death.

The Boston University community mourned O'Connor's loss in a remembrance of her in the school publication BU Today, saying she had a "commitment to community and learning." She also had a love of travel and lived by the mantra of "luggage should never be dusty," her mother told BU Today.

O'Connor had degrees from Virginia Tech and Middlebury College as well as a Ph.D. in French studies from Louisiana State University. She had been teaching part time at Boston University the last two years and had previously lectured at Bentley University, LSU, MIT, Northeastern and Tufts, according to BU.

"Already then, and even more so now, she was an intrinsic part of the French section and the department at large," Odile Cazenave, a professor of French and chair of romance studies at BU, wrote in an email to her department, according to BU Today.

"As I spoke with her parents this morning, I let them know how much Carrie is very much alive and part of our department," Cazenave wrote.