'I just want answers': Family, attorneys of football player crushed by elevator claim negligence
ATLANTA - Negligence is what attorneys blame for an elevator accident that left an 18-year-old football player dead. At a news conference on Tuesday, the attorneys, and parents of JauMarcus McFarland spoke publicly for the first time since it happened.
McFarland died on Aug. 31 when an elevator failed at a student housing building on Highland Avenue.
Atlanta Police have since released body camera video and 911 calls from the day of the accident.
"The elevator just smashed these football players, and they need somebody up here on the third floor," said one 911 caller.
The details of the incident are still under investigation. Attorneys with The Cochran Firm claim the building on Highland Avenue has a history of maintenance issues involving the elevator.
"This didn't happen because there were too many people on the elevator. This happened because of straight arrogance, neglect and intentional disregard for the life of others," said Shean Williams, a partner at The Cochran Firm.
Atlanta police released body camera video of the accident. Surveillance video shows a crowd of people in the elevator and one person getting out safely. The video shows McFarland getting pinned between floors immediately after.
"My son came here to do what he liked to do and that was play football, and he really enjoyed that," said Jessica Moore, the mother of JauMarcus McFarland, "He wasn't able to fulfill that, and I just want answers. I'm just overwhelmed by the whole thing."
The State Insurance Commissioner's Office told FOX 5, that the building's elevator was a year past due for an inspection. However, the building's property manager claimed the elevator passed similar annual inspections, and it was not due for another five-year inspection until 2024.
The management also claimed there were 16 student athletes on the elevator at the time of the accident which pushed it over the weight limit.
Attorney Williams disputed that claim at a news conference on Tuesday.
"There was not 16 people on the elevator as their management claims and that elevator did not have more than 3,000-pound people excessive weight," said Williams.
Right now, there have been no lawsuits filed in connection to this case. Lawyers tell FOX 5 they will investigate everything including building management, the elevator's manufacturer, and the prep school McFarland attended.
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