A homemade elevator was crafted with the best intentions, but investigators say it ended up crushing a Hernando County woman to death on Tuesday.
Margaret Harrison was swinging by Robert and Jean Blair’s Weeki Wachee home to visit Jean, while her husband went to the doctor.
When Margaret didn’t show up, Jean called a mutual friend to check on her.
“He took a ride over because he thought maybe she was broken down on the roadway. When he got there, he found her car outside. Then he located her underneath the elevator,” Hernando County Sheriff’s Office’s Denise Moloney said Thursday.
By the time help arrived, Harrison was pronounced dead.
Hernando County deputies suspect no foul play was involved. They believe Harrison may have fallen and somehow ended up underneath the elevator as the lift lowered.
“We don’t know what happened downstairs, but she was underneath it,” Moloney said.
The Blair family is heartbroken. Jean Blair is disabled and confined to a motorized wheelchair. Her husband says he built the homemade elevator nearly 20 years ago to help her get around their three-story home. Robert Blair is a former engineer and electrician. He built the elevator by using a forklift, wood, and metal and powered it with a hydraulic pump.
He says his wife is devastated over her best friend’s death. He says they’re unsure of how this could even happen.
The Hernando County Building Department says a permit was never pulled to build an elevator at the home. They say it’s illegal and they’ve shut it down for further use.