County to pay $1 million to settle escalator death case

SEATTLE - King County has agreed to pay $1 million to settle a lawsuit filed by the family of a Renton man who died after his clothing got caught in a metro station escalator, The Seattle Times reports.

42-year-old Maurecio Bell was strangled by the drawstring on his hooded sweatshirt after it got entangled in the escalator in 2013. A judge Wednesday approved the settlement in the wrongful death case brought by Bell's wife and children.

The family's attorney says the safety devices on the escalator at King County Metro's University Station that stop its movement when things get stuck never triggered. Records also show several of the escalator's comb teeth were broken and its steps misaligned.

The county previously argued Bell was partially responsible for his injuries because he was intoxicated at the time. A half-empty bottle of brandy was found in his back pocket, according to a police report.

The report described video surveillance showing Bell staggering and leaning against the side of the escalator. Then about three-quarters of the way down, he fell backward and remained still until he got to the bottom, and his clothes caught in the machinery. The report describes him trying to sit up, struggling briefly, then lying still.

A passerby hit the emergency stop button about 10 minutes later, attempted CPR, and called for help.
 

Copyright 2016 KING


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