A dead man's body went unnoticed for more than half a week at a Metro station in Washington, according to a lawsuit from the man's parents. Attorney Okiemute C. Whiteru, 35, died from tumbling off an escalator at the Judiciary Square station Oct. 19, 2013. He wasn't found until four days later, by which point he had died of blunt force trauma, according to the Washington City Paper.
Whiteru's parents have sued the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority for $25 million, arguing that if Metro employees had searched for him earlier -- they say his fall was captured on the station's surveillance video -- then he wouldn't have died.
The lawsuit, which was filed May 1, states that Whiteru was ascending an escalator when he "lost his balance and fell from the escalator a short distance; onto the subway platform" and that while "attempting to collect himself" he fell backwards a "distance of eight feet, resulting in incapacitating injuries." The lawsuit states that "these events were seen by agents, servants and/or employees" of WMATA and recorded by surveillance cameras, but WMATA workers "failed to recognize and investigate the happening of the fall, or otherwise respond to the occurrence," causing Whiteru to die from his injuries without having received any assistance or medical help.
The suit also seeks damages from WMATA on four counts: premises liability, negligence, survival action and wrongful death. Whiteru's parents, Cameroon and Agnes, who live in Brooklyn, New York, are represented by Louis G. Close III.
This is not the first time a corpse has been discovered on the D.C. Metro. In 2010, the Washington Examiner reported that a man was found dead on a Red Line train in a rail yard at Shady Grove station. The man was found after lying on the floor of the train car for more than three hours.
An average of 9,000 passengers went through Judiciary Square station every weekday in 2013.