A BU French Teacher Was Killed in an Elevator Accident in Allston. Here's What We Know

Boston police say Carrie O'Connor, 38, died of traumatic asphyxiation

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Authorities continue to investigate an elevator accident in Boston's Allston neighborhood this week that killed a 38-year-old woman and left neighbors in shock.

Boston police say Carrie O'Connor -- a French lecturer at Boston University -- died of traumatic asphyxiation from the incident that occurred Monday. Her death was deemed accidental.

Here's what we know about the accident.

Who was the victim?

Boston University confirmed that O'Connor was a French lecturer at the school. Her mother told the school publication BU Today that O'Connor was a dedicated student who loved traveling and baking.

Police and Boston University have identified Carrie O'Connor, a French lecturer at at the school, as the woman who died in an elevator accident in Allston. Witnesses said it was horrifying.

O'Connor was starting her second year teaching at BU full-time after two years teaching part-time, according to BU Today. She'd also taught at other schools in the area -- MIT, Tufts, Northeastern and Bentley University -- as well as Louisiana State.

“Already then, and even more so now, she was an intrinsic part of the French section and the department at large,” professor Odile Cazenave, chair of romance studies at BU, said in an email to the department, according to the publication.

According to BU Today, O’Connor graduated from Virginia Tech University and earned a master’s in French from Middlebury College in Vermont.

What happened?

Police haven't said what they believe took place in the accident in the building on Monday around 5:15 p.m. But neighbors tell NBC10 Boston they heard horrific screams.

Another person was taken to an area hospital from the building on Commonwealth Avenue and Thorndike Street, police have said. That person's condition hasn't been given, and they haven't been identified.

According to police records obtained by the Boston Globe, O'Connor was “trapped in the doorway of the first floor and the elevator” when officers responded, the paper reported.

Investigators are still trying to figure out what caused the accident, which claimed the life of a woman in her 30s on Monday in Allston.

"It was horrifying," said Leanne Scorzino, who lives on the first floor. "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."

She said she spoke with a man who cautioned O’Connor that the large box she was trying to load onto the building's old, small elevator wouldn't fit. That neighbor thinks O'Connor's box may have somehow gotten the elevator to start moving and she somehow got off.

When Scorzino arrived in the hallway, the elevator door was open and she could see the top of the car and the cables, she said.

Another resident of the first floor, Nevada Foskit, said the elevator has to be completely shut before it moves.

"It's an old elevator. It's an old building, I assume, but it's never had any issues for me," Foskit said.

What do we know about the elevator?

The building manager said the elevator passed an inspection in the last year. Boston licensing officials confirmed that Tuesday in a statement to the NBC10 Boston Investigators.

Meanwhile, Boston's Division of Professional Licensure said the elevator had been recently inspected and was in compliance with state regulations.

The elevator "was recently inspected and was certified in accordance with state regulations," a Division of Professional Licensure spokeswoman said, extending the department's condolences to the victim's loved ones.

She said they are investigating the incident and working with authorities to find its cause.

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