Boston police found 38-year-old Carrie O’Connor inside the elevator in her apartment building, Sergeant Detective John Boyle told CNN. The building is off campus.
His death was ruled by an accident, Boyle said, due to “painful asphyxia”, which usually occurs when a heavy object suddenly crushes the chest.
Police are still investigating the details of O’Connor’s death, but eyewitnesses reported that CNN affiliate WBZ Conner was loading a box into an elevator in his apartment building when the elevator suddenly collapsed.
“It was terrible,” fellow tenant Leanne Scorzoni told WBZ of the incident. “I would never want to hear that. Never even cried. I couldn’t even tell what it was.”
State officials told boston.com that a lift was recently inspected at the Commonwealth Avenue apartment building.
A hardworking teacher and Francophile
O’Connor’s family and colleagues at Boston University, where he taught courses in French language and culture, remembered Conor as a skilled baker and vegetarian cook, an experienced globetrotter and gifted teacher.
Prior to joining Boston University, where she began her second academic year as a full-time lecturer after two years of part-time teaching, O’Connor taught at Tufts University, Northeastern University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Louisiana State University. According to Boston University, she earned her PhD in French Studies.
At Boston University, she taught French-language courses, French literature and, most deliciously, French culture through gastronomy, among others.
“Already then, and even more now, he was largely an intrinsic part of the French section and department,” French professor Odile Kazenev wrote in an email to the Department of Romance Studies shared by the university. “As I spoke with her parents this morning, I told them how alive Carrie is and is part of our department.”
He was remembered by Boston University Global House, a global student housing experience where he mentions French-speaking students. He also cooked for them.