Popular Boston University Professor Falls 20 Feet to His Death Through Gaping Hole on Staircase During a Run
“He was the most loving, kind, considerate person I knew. He was the best father. He loved to dance to Phish, be outdoors, and run. He loved unconditionally and was the proudest father to his kids. I loved him,” wrote Professor David Jones's wife, Sarah.
A popular Boston University professor died unexpectedly after he fell 20 feet through a gap in a dilapidated staircase near a Boston train station that had reportedly been closed off for repair, according to a published report.
David Jones, 40, an associate professor in the university’s School of Public Health, was on a run and training for an upcoming marathon, according to loved ones, when the tragedy occurred, NBC10 Boston reported.
His body was found around 1:30 p.m. on Saturday underneath a rundown staircase located near the JFK/UMass Red Line T station, Massachusetts State Police said.
Troopers were alerted to the scene after someone noticed Jones's body. A preliminary investigation concluded that the stairs had been deemed unsafe and closed for approximately 20 months, according to The Boston Globe.
Authorities said the top and bottom of the stairs had been blocked off by a wire fence, a chain-link fence, and additional barriers, the news outlet reported.
In a statement, Suffolk County District Attorney Rachael Rollins said that her office is investigating the details of Jones's death.
“We continue to look at how Dr. Jones accessed a stairway that had been closed for some 20 months,’’ Rollins said. “Whether accidental or intentional, any death is a tragedy and the harm to loved ones is the same."
She continued: “While the investigation is ongoing, we are available to offer his family support and connect them to community resources through our victim-witness assistance program.’’
The BU community was stunned and sadden by his sudden passing.
On Sunday, Dr. Sandro Galea, dean of BU's School of Public Health, who shared the tragic news with her colleagues wrote, “In truth, I have no words to describe the devastation of this news."
Describing her colleague as a "wonderful human being," who had a "deep commitment to all we do."
"I have so loved all my interactions with David, I cannot really imagine what it means to not have David as part of our community," she said. "He cared deeply about bridging research and policy and conducted work in places as far as France and the Mississippi Delta."
Some of his professional accomplishments she spoke about include the AcademyHealth’s Outstanding Dissertation Award, and BU School of Public Health Excellence in Teaching Award, among others.
One of Jones's colleagues said "teaching was very personal to Jones... and he really loved it." She added that "his loss is overwhelming when you think about what the world lost,” a report said.
Another colleague, Sarah Lipson, organizer of the GoFundMe said Jones was “beloved beyond words.” She said the money raised will help support Jones’s wife and three children, Olivia, Anne, and Thomas. As of Tuesday, nearly $107,000 has been raised for their goal of $200,000.
On Sunday, Sarah Sacuto, Jones’s wife said in a Facebook post that “the void he leaves behind is unspeakable.”
“He was the most loving, kind, considerate person I knew. He was the best father. He loved to dance to Phish, be outdoors, and run. He loved unconditionally and was the proudest father to his kids. I loved him.”
She continued: ”This is likely the hardest thing we will go through as a family. Please take a minute and remember him to us- as we must go on carrying the light he gave us. We will draw strength from your memories as we travel through the darkest of times."
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