Wife of Penn professor who died at subway station wants SEPTA to answer questions

Ellis Golub died after falling Jan. 13 at the Market-Frankford line's 40th Street Station.
Ellis Golub died after falling Jan. 13 at the Market-Frankford line's 40th Street Station.
Posted: February 28, 2014

PHILADELPHIA The wife of a University of Pennsylvania professor wants SEPTA to accept responsibility for his death after a fall last month in a subway stairwell.

Ellis Golub, 71, of Bryn Mawr, died Jan. 22 from injuries suffered in the fall Jan. 13 at the Market-Frankford Line's 40th Street station.

Security-camera footage shows that Golub fell after he moved across the stairway to avoid a ladder set up at the bottom of the stairs by a SEPTA electrician who was changing lightbulbs.

Golub, a biochemistry professor, was on the faculty of School of Dental Medicine.

"I want somebody to say they're sorry . . . that this shouldn't have happened," said Linda Golub. "This man died for no reason, and I want to keep it from happening to somebody else."

SEPTA spokeswoman Jerri Williams said SEPTA Police Chief Thomas Nestel III had reviewed the footage and spoken with Golub's daughter-in-law about the accident. Williams declined to comment further, citing the possibility of litigation.

The footage shows there was nothing to alert pedestrians that a ladder had been set up at the bottom of the stairs. After the accident, the video shows, SEPTA employees arrived with yellow tape to mark the stairwell.

Golub, who was en route to Thomas Jefferson University Hospital in Center City at 9:33 a.m., was walking down the stairs to the eastbound platform of the El. The video shows he was using the handrail on the right side of the stairs, and moved to the left side when he noticed the ladder.

As he moved across the stairs, he started to lose his footing, grabbed twice for the left handrail, and then fell headfirst down the stairs, the video shows.

Apparently unconscious, he did not move after landing on the floor next to the ladder. Arriving emergency medical technicians can be seen administering CPR and then removing Golub on a stretcher at 9:49 a.m.

Linda Golub said her husband struck his neck on the stairs and broke two vertebrae near the base of his skull.

"There was no blockage of the stairway to indicate not to go down the stairs," she said. She said SEPTA should have blocked the stairs or had someone at the top to warn pedestrians of the ladder at the bottom.

"He was 71, in good health," she said. "He didn't have to die."


pnussbaum@phillynews.com

215-854-4587

@nussbaumpaul

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