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Whether it’s January’s arcing insulator fatality or 2009’s Red Line crash, deaths on Metro are usually a big deal. But a new lawsuit says that one death in the system went totally unnoticed for days, long enough for the corpse to lie in a station for more than half a week.
According to the May 1 lawsuit, filed by the dead man’s parents and first noticed by the Legal Times, attorney Okiemute C. Whiteru was taking the escalator out of the Judiciary Square station on Oct. 19, 2013 when he tumbled off the side. Then he fell again, ending up behind a low wall on the platform.
Even though thousands of people use Judiciary Square every rush hour, Whiteru wasn’t found until four days later. By then, he had died of blunt force trauma.
The lawsuit suggests that if Metro employees had found him earlier, he wouldn’t have died from his injuries. Whiteru’s original falls were captured on Metro surveillance video, according to the lawsuit.
Whiteru’s parents, who are suing the system for negligence and wrongful death, want $25 million from the transit agency. Metro spokesman Dan Stessel declined to comment on the pending lawsuit, while the Whiterus’ attorney didn’t respond to a request for comment.
Photo by Darrow Montgomery