The family of a Boston University professor who was killed when he fell from a rusted-out state-owned staircase near the JFK/UMass MBTA station is suing the transit agency and MassDOT, claiming the transit agencies’ negligence led to his death
It was September 11, 2021, when tragedy struck Sarah Sacuto’s family. Her husband, forty-year-old Milton David Jones, fell to his death near the JFK/UMass T station in Dorchester, Massachusetts. Jones was an associate professor at the School of Public Health, and his death was caused by a rusty staircase that had been deemed unsafe and closed off to the public for twenty months.
Despite the warning signs and fences, Jones decided to climb over the fence and walk on the rickety stairs, which ultimately fell apart, causing him to slip through a hole and fall twenty feet to his death. Sarah Sacuto was devastated by the loss of her husband and filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA) and Massachusetts Department of Education, alleging that they did not provide adequate warning about the dangerous staircase.
According to the lawsuit, “The defendants, by their neglect, had allowed the ‘subject staircase’ to degrade and fall into disrepair thereby causing it to be a danger to the public.” Sacuto believes that the defendants could have done more to prevent people from falling to their deaths on the staircase.
Jones’s death was ruled an accident by the authorities, but his widow thinks there is more to it than that. She blames the defendants for her husband’s death and wants to be compensated for their mistakes. However, the sum of compensation has not been disclosed.
At the time of the professor’s death, the staircase was fenced off and warning signs were posted. Jones went for a run and never returned home. Passersby alerted the Massachusetts State Troopers to his body underneath the staircase at around 1:30 PM. When detectives arrived on the scene, they observed a gap in the stairs above the victim, who had already been determined to be deceased.
The rickety staircase has since been torn down to prevent any other accidents from happening. But Sarah Sacuto still mourns the loss of her husband and believes that more could have been done to prevent his death. She hopes that her lawsuit will bring attention to the negligence of the defendants and prevent any other families from experiencing a tragedy like hers.
“This could have happened to anybody,” said Saunders, a witness to the incident. “You can’t really notice whether the stairs are there or not unless you really, really look hard.”
The tragic death of Milton David Jones serves as a reminder to always be cautious and heed warning signs. Negligence can cause accidents that could have been prevented. It is crucial to take responsibility for ensuring the safety of others and to take action when safety concerns arise.