Florida Woman Crushed by Homemade Elevator: Deputies

The "lift" or homemade elevator was made using a fork lift, wood and welded material.

A 66-year-old Florida woman was crushed by a homemade elevator when she went to visit her friend's Gulf Coast home earlier this week, authorities said.

Margaret Elizabeth Harrison went to Jean Blair's home on Tuesday morning at about 7:30 a.m, the Hernando County Sheriff's Office said.

Blair has a motorized wheelchair and uses a homemade elevator to get around her three-story house, authorities said.

On Tuesday, Blair rode the elevator from the third floor to the living area on the second floor. She then sent the elevator to the first floor for Harrison to use, the sheriff's office said.

When Harrison hadn't arrived by 9 a.m., Blair called Harrison's boyfriend, who drove to the house and saw Harrison's car in the driveway. When he got in the house, he turned on elevator's power to raise it and saw Harrison was underneath.

Fire Rescue pronounced Harrison dead at the scene. Autopsy results showed that her death was an accident, the sheriff's office said.

The homemade elevator was added to the home after it was built about 17 years ago, the sheriff's office said. It was made by Blair's husband using a fork lift, wood and welded material. The couple told deputies it was maintained monthly, and it had never failed before.

However, when Hernando County Building Department arrived at the house, it determined that there were no permits issued for any "lift" or elevator in the house. The "lift," which was found to have dangerous electrical connections, was deemed illegal and unsafe.The Hernando County Building Department shut it down, the sheriff's office said.

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