Annette Lujan
Annette Lujan

State officials on Thursday continued an investigation into the cause of a fatal elevator accident at California State University, Long Beach.

University employee Annette Lujan, 48, was riding in an elevator about 9 a.m. Wednesday in the Foundation Building at 6300 State University Drive when the elevator stalled between the second and third floors, officials said.

Lujan, with the help of a witness, attempted to crawl out but the elevator suddenly shifted down and crushed her, authorities said. She died at the scene.

College spokeswoman Toni Beron said investigators from the California Occupational Safety Hazard Administration were on the scene Thursday and will be continuing their investigation. Also on scene were technicians from the Schindler Elevator Corp., which manufactured the elevator.

The company is one of the largest manufacturers of elevators, escalators and moving walks, with more than 1,000 branches throughout the world, according to its website.

Meanwhile, foundation employees were grieving for the loss of a beloved colleague. Lujan, a Huntington Beach resident and mother of two adult children, had worked for the university for nine years in the grants and contracts office.

Beron said the Foundation Building reopened in the morning, but employees were given the option of taking a half-day or full-day off.

"They had the option of taking the day off but most of the employees still came to work anyway because they wanted to show solidarity and be together," Beron said.


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The university is offering grief counseling, she said.

The three-story building is about 15 to 20 years old and has two elevators. Beron said one of the elevators has been closed for repairs since the Thanksgiving holiday.

Campus officials said the working elevator, where the accident occurred, had no reported problems before the accident. However, several employees who asked not to be identified said the elevator has had ongoing problems. Some said the elevator would make strange grinding noises and the doors would sometimes open before the car was level with the floor.

Erika Monterroza, a spokeswoman for the California Department of Industrial Relations, said the elevator passed its annual safety inspection on April 5 and its safety requirements were up to date.

The Department of Industrial Relations is investigating the accident along with Cal/OSHA.

kelly.puente@presstelegram.com