Stout Center to re-open Monday follwing elevator malfunction

- The Stout Center for Criminal Justice will be open on Monday, August 8 and will operate during normal Court hours, the Administrative Governing Board of the First Judicial District of Pennsylvania announced Sunday afternoon.

The announcement follows consultation with the City, and information provided by elevator experts hired by the City, as well as safety certification by state inspectors.

On Thursday, an elevator malfunction at the criminal courthouse left a sheriff's sergeant with critical head and chest injuries and a second employee injured.

Authorities say the sergeant was in an employee elevator at the 17-story Criminal Justice Center. They say the elevator car shot up quickly to a high floor before crashing through concrete flooring above.

Sheriff Jewell Williams says responders forced the door open and found Sgt. Paul Owens bleeding from deep lacerations to his head. He says the 50-year-old officer is hospitalized in critical but stable condition.

Jewell says debris fell into an adjacent shaft and struck an elevator car in the basement. Employee Beverly Smith was found inside with seemingly minor injuries.

According to a press release, all jurors seated for a trial that is in progress, as well as any witness, victim, or defendant involved in any trial or matter in progress should report to the Stout Center on Monday.

The same goes for all prospective jurors, witnesses, victims, and defendants notified to appear for a trial or matter on Monday.

The press release also states: “All prospective jurors, witnesses, victims and defendants who were previously scheduled to appear at the Stout Center on Friday, August 5th, 2016, as well as those who were present for a trial or matter that was NOT addressed by the Court on Thursday, August 4th, 2016 will have their trial or matter rescheduled, and will receive notice from the Court indicating a new date to appear.”

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