BU lecturer killed in freak elevator accident was passionate teacher, world traveler

BOSTON — The Boston University lecturer killed in a freak elevator accident at her Allston apartment building Monday was a passionate teacher and world traveler, her family and colleagues said Tuesday.

Carrie O’Connor’s mother Christal described her 38-year-old daughter to BU Today as lover of language, travel and food. “Once she learned to read when she was just a little one,” said Christal O’Connor, “we used to have to bribe her to stop her reading and get outside.”

It was in middle school that O’Connor would fall in love with the French language.

Before being hired as a full-time lecturer in French in May 2019, she taught at Bentley University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Tufts University, Northeastern University and Louisiana State University, where she earned her PhD.

MORE: Officials identify woman killed in Allston elevator accident as 38-year-old BU lecturer

O’Connor was trying to fit a large package into the elevator at her Commonwealth Ave., apartment Monday afternoon when a neighbor witnessed the elevator suddenly plummet from the first floor to the basement without the doors properly closing, several other residents told Boston 25 News.

O’Connor was fatally injured. The medical examiner ruled her cause of death traumatic asphyxia – a crushing injury.

“I could hear the box moving outside the door, and then I heard her screaming,” said first-floor resident Leanne Scorzoni. “And then I heard the [man] screaming.”

That man – a neighbor who tried frantically to help the victim – was also rushed to the hospital, treated for distress and later released.

State inspectors said the elevator had been recently inspected and certified. Both the state and local police continue to investigate the incident.

Meanwhile, O’Connor’s colleagues and friends are reacting with sorrow to O’Connor’s death.

Stan Sclaroff, dean of Boston University’s College of Arts & Sciences, wrote to faculty about O’Connor’s “resourcefulness, collegiality and inclusiveness.”

“We are fortunate that Carrie found a home here,” Sclaroff said. “She will be sorely missed.”

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