Newly released investigative reports obtained by the NBC10 Boston Investigators offer more information on the death of a Boston University professor who fell to his death through a rusted-out staircase near an MBTA train station last September, including surveillance footage of the fall itself.
David K. Jones fell to his death on Sept. 11, 2021, through a broken section of staircase near JFK Station. Surveillance video of the platform shows Jones heading up the stairs, and the moment he falls through.
NBC10 Boston has edited the video of fall because it may be too graphic for some audiences.
Last month Suffolk County District Attorney Kevin Hayden announced that his office has completed its investigation into the tragic death, saying no criminal charges will be filed and that it was officially ruled an accident. According to the death certificate, the cause of death was blunt force injuries.
Jones, a 40-year-old avid runner, was on a run when he attempted to ascend the unrepaired stairs, which had been blocked off and unattended for more than a year.
Darin Colucci, an attorney representing the Jones family, had the following statement on the matter:
"The DA’s decision not to bring any criminal charges in this matter in no way exonerates those responsible for this wholly avoidable accident that took a good man’s life. There was not a single sign that would warn a person as to the grave but hidden danger in this structure, and certainly no attempt was ever made to convey to the public that those dangers were potentially lethal."
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Crime scene photos show the space where the staircase was missing treads, and several of those rusted treads can be seen below on the ground.
According to a detective's report, when Jones was three-quarters of the way to the top of the staircase, more of the steps gave way, causing him to fall.
A gap can also be seen between the gate and the staircase where Jones entered the area, as seen on the security footage.
In the immediate aftermath of the death, there was confusion over which state agency was in charge of the staircase. MassDOT eventually removed the stairs several days after the incident. After the incident, more fencing and warning signs were installed in the area.
“Any death is a tragedy and his family, loved ones, students, and colleagues continue to mourn his untimely passing,” Hayden previously said in a statement. “Based on a thorough and careful review of the evidence, however, we have determined that criminal charges are not warranted in connection with Dr. Jones’ death.”
Jones, who lived in Milton, Massachusetts, with his wife and three children, was an Associate Professor in the Department of Health Law, Policy and Management at Boston University’s School of Public Health. His research focused on the politics of health reform and the social determinants of health.
The death of Jones was investigated by state police and the district attorney, who said at the time they were looking at how Jones accessed the stairway that had been closed for some 20 months after being deemed unsafe. Both the top and bottom of the stairs had been blocked off.
In the aftermath of his sudden death, Jones was remembered by his wife, Sarah Sacuto, as the "most loving, kind, considerate person" and "best father," who "loved to dance to Phish, be outdoors, and run. He loved unconditionally and was the proudest father to his kids."
In a statement released just days after the fatal incident, Jones' family called his death a "tragic and preventable passing."
Jones had an undergraduate degree from McGill University in Montreal, Canada, and advanced degrees from the University of North Carolina and the University of Michigan, his university profile showed.
He was originally from New York City, where he once worked as a pretzel vendor at Yankee Stadium, the university said.
He was founding editor-in-chief of the Public Health Post, an online forum for public health policy launched in November 2016; was awarded an Association of University Programs in Health Administration prize for young investigators; AcademyHealth’s Outstanding Dissertation Award; and the BU School of Public Health Excellence in Teaching Award.
The Associated Press contributed to this report