Man in wheelchair dies after falling down escalator at Columbia Heights Metro station

Man in wheelchair dies after falling down escalator at Columbia Heights Metro station

Man in wheelchair fatally falls from top of escalator at Metro station

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WTOP File A man died Wednesday after falling off his electric wheelchair while taking the escalator at the Columbia Heights Metro station in D.C. WASHINGTON — It’s still not clear why a man in a motorized wheelchair rode the up escalator at the Columbia Heights Metro station, before tumbling down the moving staircase to his death.

Man fatally injured after falling off electric wheelchair at Metro station

Metro spokeswoman Sherri Ly said surveillance video showed the man pressed the “up” button on the underground station level.

“A review of camera footage revealed the man waited 10 to 15 seconds for the elevator, which was in service at the time, and then diverted to the escalator,” Ly said. “Upon reaching the top of the escalator, the man and wheelchair fell backward, landing at the bottom.”

D.C. Fire and Emergency Medical Services Department spokesman Doug Buchanan said the man was unconscious when first responders arrived. The man was transported to the hospital, where he died.

According to Metro’s most recent performance report, elevator availability for the last fiscal year, from July 2017 to June 2018, was 97 percent.

Some elevator riders, many with disabilities, have said Metro’s numbers don’t reflect their experience, and they become exasperated when repeatedly encountering elevators that are not operating properly.

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Posted in Columbia