Woman crushed to death by homemade elevator at Weeki Wachee home

WEEKI WACHEE, Fla. - A woman died when she was crushed by a homemade elevator at a Weeki Wachee residence on Tuesday.

According to a sheriff's statement, the elevator was constructed from a forklift and other parts by the husband of Jean Blair, who travels around in a motorized wheelchair at the three-story house on Island Drive.

On Tuesday, Blair took the "lift" to the second floor and then sent it down to the first floor while she waited for her friend, Margaret Harrison, 66, who was coming to visit

When Harrison had not arrived by 9 a.m., Blair became alarmed and called Harrison's boyfriend, who drove over and saw Harrison's car in the driveway.

When he approached the lift, he saw that there was someone underneath it.

He used a switch to raise the lift and discovered the person was Harrison.  She was pronounced dead at the scene by Fire Rescue personnel.

Blair and her husband told deputies the lift was maintained monthly and had never failed.

The Hernando County Building Department was called in and determined that no construction permits for the lift were ever issued and had dangerous electrical connections, according to the sheriff's statement.

The lift was deemed unsafe and was shut down by the Building Department.

Investigators say the death was an accident.
 

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