Metro alters escalator policy after man's death

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By Alice Reid
Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, July 28, 1998; 5:04 PM

Following the death of a 37-year-old man after he climbed a stopped 106-foot Metro escalator during last week's heat wave, transit officials have decided they will keep at least one up-escalator operating in a station during repairs, a spokeswoman said yesterday.

If no up-escalator is available in a station, Metro officials said, they will post signs in mezzanines and on the street next to staircases urging riders to take the elevator.

Richard Lee Smith, father of Richard Hadaway Smith, who died July 20 after he trudged up a stationary escalator at the Bethesda station, said he was glad to hear of the changes.

"I'm glad they have changed their policy, but I'm sorry it took my son's death to do it," Smith said.

The elder Smith said state officials have told him that an autopsy and preliminary tests showed that his son, a massage therapist, died of a massive heart attack.

"Richard had shown no sign of heart problems," said Smith in a telephone interview. "He walked three miles a day and had a physically demanding job."

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