Man in wheelchair falls to death off transit escalator

WASHINGTON — A Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority official says a man fell to his death when he attempted to ride an upward Metro escalator in a motorized wheelchair.

Metro spokeswoman Sherri Ly tells news outlets the man called for an elevator at the Columbia Heights Metro station Wednesday afternoon before quickly boarding the escalator. She says he had nearly reached the top of the escalator when he fell backward, landing at the bottom.

Ly says the man was taken to a hospital where he was declared dead. She says his name isn’t being released pending the notification of his family.

She says the elevator was working. A recent Metro report says elevator availability for the last fiscal year was 97 percent. But many people with disabilities disagree, citing frequent breakdowns.

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