Investigation continues into BU professor’s death; MassDOT further blocks staircase access

A memorial is scheduled at the university for those who are mourning the loss of David K. Jones.

Warning signs and a higher fence were put up after the BU professor fell from the staircase and died over the weekend. John Tlumacki / The Boston Globe

The investigation continues into how a Boston University professor tragically fell to his death on a closed staircase near the JFK/UMass MBTA station in Boston.

Meanwhile, additional fencing has been put up around the crumbling stairs to help ensure the same doesn’t happen to someone else.

David K. Jones, 40, of Milton was found dead Saturday afternoon at 599 Old Colony Ave.; a passerby happened to see him on the ground beneath the rusty metal staircase that used to be used to connect Old Colony Avenue and the Columbia Road overpass. A sizable gap could be seen in the staircase above where Jones was found. He was pronounced dead at the scene.


“Preliminary investigation revealed that the stairs had been deemed unsafe and closed for approximately 20 months,” Dave Procopio, a spokesman for state police, said in a statement on Monday.

It was in January 2020 that a fence was placed around the steps, and a cement barricade put in to deter pedestrians from using the stairs. A sign was also put up at the nearby train station noting the stairs’ closure, according to a Massachusetts Department of Transportation spokesperson.

After Jones’s death, the department used an emergency contract to add more safety measures overnight Monday. The investigation remains ongoing, the spokesperson said.

“We continue to look at how Dr. Jones accessed a stairway that had been closed for some 20 months,’’ Suffolk District Attorney Rachael Rollins said in a statement released Monday evening. “Whether accidental or intentional, any death is a tragedy and the  harm to loved ones is the same. While the investigation is ongoing, we are available to offer his family support and connect them to community resources through our victim witness assistance program.’’

Meanwhile, those within the Boston University community continue to grieve their loss. Jones was an associate professor in BU’s Department of Health Law, Policy and Management.


A memorial is scheduled for Thursday, Sept. 23, from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. at Hiebert Lounge or via Zoom.

Those that knew him described Jones as inspirational, and someone willing to give his time.

“He just made time for everyone – students, faculty; he really just was one of the most selfless people I’ve ever met,” Michael Ulrich, a colleague and friend of Jones, said earlier this week.

A GoFundMe has been set up to benefit Jones’s family. As of Wednesday afternoon, it had raised over $117,000 with a stated goal of $200,000.

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