Man's Body Lay in Metro Station for 4 Days, Lawsuit Says

The body of a man who fell and died inside the Judiciary Square Metro station in Washington, D.C., lay in the station for four days, the man's family claims in a $25 million lawsuit against Metro.

Okiemute Whiteru, 35, died in October 2013. His family said in a recently filed wrongful death lawsuit that Metro should have done more to save the life of the lawyer, who lived in Navy Yard.

According to the lawsuit, Whiteru was ascending an escalator in the Judiciary Square Metro station early the morning of Saturday, Oct. 19, 2013 when he lost his balance and fell a short distance onto the train platform.

As he was "attempting to collect himself," he fell again about 8 feet, over a short wall near the edge of the platform, the lawsuit says.

Whiteru's family claims Metro employees saw the accident and that it was captured by surveillance cameras. The body was discovered four days later, on Wednesday, October 23, as News4 reported.

When a Metro station manager is ready to close the station, the manager is charged with walking through the station and making sure everyone is out. Complicating discovery of the body, one entrance of the Judiciary Square station is closed on weekends.

Metro said it cannot comment on the ongoing case. The lawyer for the man's family did not respond to a request for comment.

Metro rider Patrick Cronin said he was stunned by the lawsuit.

"I'm just surprised it took that long. It's a tragedy," he said.

"It's sad, number one, and, number two, I think there needs to be accountability, and, number three, what can they do to make things better for the future?" said Metro rider Greg Crawford.

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