Man Dies After 3 Story Fall from Lincoln Square Escalator

The 24-year-old man was sitting on the escalator handrail when he fell backward into the atrium of the shopping center early Friday. He died at the scene, Bellevue police said.

Editor's note 5:45 p.m.: This story has been updated with a corrected age and the name of the man.

A 24-year-old man died early Friday after a three-story fall from the escalator, the Bellevue Police Department reported.

The man, identified as Joel Bush, was sitting on the railing of the escalator as if to ride it when he fell backward into the atrium, said spokeswoman Lt. Marcia Harnden.

"I don't know if he didn't realize how high up he was," Harnden said. "It's a 60-foot drop."

The man suffered head injuries and CPR was performed on him, but he died at the scene, she said.

She said witnesses had seen the man out and about earlier in the evening at the center, which includes bars and restaurants, a pool hall and bowling alley and the Lincoln Square Cinemas movie theater.

Police are investigating whether alcohol was involved, but it appears the incident was just an accident, she said.

"It was traumatic for the people who saw it, and it was unfortunate and tragic for him," Harnden said.

nancy December 31, 2011 at 05:28 AM
Because we have a difference of opinion re: where fault lies is not a reason to be insulted. From this thread those that feel the kid does not deserve to be judged are turning around and calling others 'ignorant, heartless, pricks...etc'. You know for such non judgmental people, you're coming across as pretty judgmental. And Jim, you go a little further and kinda wish bad on those we love?! Here's a question, if you see a kid sitting on a handrail, will you get him off or leave him be cause you don't want to hurt his feelings? You can serve as a positive example in life or you can serve as the example of what not to do. This kid was the latter, no matter how you cut it.
Michael Tighe December 31, 2011 at 05:32 AM
Where is Lincoln Square? It then notes Bellevue, well Bellevue is SE Omaha, Nebraska, so I guess this happened in Nebraska, lovely piece of journalism, missing important details, evidently this site hires the same journalists that the Huffington Post does.
Mike Tsarnas December 31, 2011 at 06:04 AM
If STUPID hurt, more people would not get killed.
amyjayng December 31, 2011 at 06:33 AM
Six other people have died in the same place. I have been hold his mother and brother all day. No his mistake did not deserve death. He was a great hard working guy. So kind to people, and a wonderful dog owner
amyjayng December 31, 2011 at 06:35 AM
It happened in Washington State.
amyjayng December 31, 2011 at 06:37 AM
Thank you Greg!!
Dan December 31, 2011 at 06:43 AM
We need "Mall Monitors"! They can follow us around, carry our packages and enforce the policies for our safety like no running, no pushing, no sitting on the handrails, no standing on the seats, no loud talking, no dialing a cell phone while walking, ... problem solved. That way no one can hurt themselves while out and about in the mall. One "Mall Monitor" for every shopper. Unemployment solved.
Kathleen December 31, 2011 at 07:53 AM
While I agree this was a senseless act to sit on the handrail, I do not go up that escalator since it is so much glass...by the time I get to the third floor and theater I am slightly dizzy. The "open" escalator can trick thee brain as it has little "ground" as a referance point. That open atrium was meant to be all glass to showcase the Chihuly chandelier and fountain that can be seen from a large distance from the outside...it was meant to look good, not be a practical escalator. I take the elevator now when at Lincoln Square.
Kathleen December 31, 2011 at 07:58 AM
SInce I live near there this was Lincoln Square in Bellevue Washington....The bottom floors are retail the upper floors are condos
Brad December 31, 2011 at 12:57 PM
Amy, since you obviously knew him, nobody is saying that he wasn't a good person, or good pet owner, for that matter...just that he didn't have a lot of common sense when it came to heights combined with mechanical equipment. Sure, it was an accident. I feel for the family. Maybe this will serve as a wake-up call for all the other risk-takers out there.
Fifi F Jones December 31, 2011 at 01:04 PM
Sorry, but I feel there should be more safety railings on escalators and stairs that go several stories up. As a mother, I see the potential dangers. I even feel the down escalator rise is close enough to the up escalator to where if anyone happened to lean over to look beneath or speak to someone down below, it could possible decapitate or at least cause a head or neck injury. I diligently watch my child on these things and give strict warnings to stay in the center. But dont want anyone else to pay with their life if they dont and have others comment that is what they get. Death is a horrible price to pay if it could be avoided/deterred. Maybe install another railing inches above the base railing of an existing escalator. Just like the Atlanta lady that was killed at her birthday party, after so called "horseplay" that led to her falling to her death out of a window. An elevated window should have a certain strength to it or a bar to prevent this. I still wonder if it was not a fight instead of play. The witnesses may not have realized horseplay may have turned into a fight, as it many times does.
Jimmy Ramsey December 31, 2011 at 01:19 PM
Bet they put a rail up now.
RVN6768 December 31, 2011 at 03:08 PM
Why stop there, enclose sidewalks! Just up the taxes so those who are too stupid to ride an escalator safely, can live in peace.
Festus McMoron December 31, 2011 at 03:30 PM
...i hope his family does the right thing and say's " our son acted like an idiot and died" it was not the mall's fault. but, the lawyers are probably lined up outside their house.
Nancy Englert-Melecosky December 31, 2011 at 03:44 PM
I believe all of us can say without doubt, "Except for the grace of God, goes I ". we ll have had a "Stupid" moment, and was fortunate we were not hurt, killed or someone else . As for enclosed escalators to protect children, that would be a prime moment for parents to do as they are suppose to do, watch you children, teach them to be responsible, ithat is your job when you decided to have children. Parenting skills have run amuck, and to many parents , not all, fail at their job. So, before you run whining about all the things to protect your responsibility , remember, most children learn from home and example, and I know it is not politically correct, but, it does work, discipline them, if talking doesn't work, pop their butts, get their attention, it may be hard to believe for some, but it does work. Responsible parents, USUALLY have responsible children/adults.
heffy December 31, 2011 at 04:38 PM
This is the natural order, only the strong and the smart survive, all the others perish. It is as it should be. He was not smart enough to survive
heffy December 31, 2011 at 04:40 PM
Demand that idiots not be allowed out in public!
heffy December 31, 2011 at 04:42 PM
stupid is as stupid does Joellen
boston December 31, 2011 at 04:59 PM
gotta be kidding demand a mesh fence lol what happens when some idiot gets his finger caught in the fence and it gets ripped off cuz you know that will happen idiots find ways to make the bizzare happen... idiots are natures way of thinning the population ...keep the line moving... nuff said
Bushfam December 31, 2011 at 05:50 PM
I appreciate everyone who supports OUR family. Joel is my cousin, and although he may not have made a good choice to do this, he didn't deserve the consequences. Have a HEART people, a person died...... Pretty sad that you don't care enough about human life to keep your rude comments to yourself.
shelly December 31, 2011 at 06:10 PM
Ummmm Joellen, that is two ENTIRELY different situations. How do you compare someone being an idiot and someone that twisted their ankle the same things? What happened to him was not an *accident* in that he was just riding on the escalator like a normal person should, as he wasn't...so therefore that does not make it an accident. You are getting bent out of shape for no reason. EVERYONE has fallen down before by doing regular activities. What he did was not an accident.
shelly December 31, 2011 at 06:16 PM
I guess then we would have to have *monitors* all around us 24/7 then. People just need to take responsibility for their own actions and not be allowed to SUE (nor their family) for acting immature and knowing full well what they were doing was a *no no* in the first place, just for the sake of getting attention. Well guess what, he finally got his few moments of fame the hard way.
shelly December 31, 2011 at 06:23 PM
Escalators have been out for a LONGGGGG time now and I don't see a need to change them other than to have a better place for an emergency switch if someone happens to get their foot caught in one or their clothes. If people feel that uncomfortable with them then they shouldn't ride them or take their children on one. There are stairs and elevators also. There ARE other alternatives to getting to the next floor. There is no need for safety railings because of someone acting immature or because a parent is not watching their kids. Because of this fool's immature behavior, the insurance will sky-rocket for this business and have spiraling effects because of it. We already have enough people out of work as it is. Paying for all this nonsense is ridiculous. Maybe he shouldn't have been going out in public if he couldn't contain himself...then this incident wouldn't have happened. These *accidents* can be avoided without acting like an *ss in public. There ARE rules to go by and since he didn't follow the rules, well, this is what happens. Lesson learned the hard way.
shelly December 31, 2011 at 06:31 PM
Bushfam, keep our comments to ourselves?? That's what this if all about...sharing our thoughts and opinions, whether you or anyone else agrees with them or not. Just because he was your cousin does not mean everyone has to be *politically correct* because you choose to keep reading this COMMENT post over and over again. If you were so close to him and it upsets you so, why do you continue to read it? You can't FORCE people to say what you want them to say and everyone to feel the same. It's not gonna happen. That is why we are all individuals. If people love technology so much, well this is what goes along with it unfortunately. While I don't think he *deserved* what he got, it was really inevitable what would happen because of his antics and going against the rules.
shelly December 31, 2011 at 06:34 PM
This story doesn't deserve to make the news headlines either. But again, this is our wonderful technology and companies making a buck off of people's stupidity...and it's us as other stupid people that continue to read it and pay attention to it in the first place.
Michelle Spohrer December 31, 2011 at 10:21 PM
I agree, Paul. It is not as though the escalator came to a stop suddenly and he was catapulted over the side when he lost his balance. He was doing something reckless that could have harmed him or someone else if he had fallen down the escalator. That said, we all did crazy things when we were young and didn't die from them. I feel for his family and friends, and for the people that witnessed this tragic event.
Kendall Watson December 31, 2011 at 10:38 PM
As a reminder, please refrain from posting invective or incendiary comments on Patch. Comments that are "defamatory, abusive, obscene, profane or offensive" are not allowed and everyone agreed to these Terms of Use (link found at the bottom of the page) before you were given the privilege of commenting here. We've been forced to remove several comments that crossed the line, but we're leaving Paul's comment up as an example of what not to do. Thanks in advance for your cooperation.
d yang January 01, 2012 at 12:16 AM
when will safety come first before vain? i can tell you many times i almost had a heart attack while watching toddlers climbing a bench on 2nd & 3rd floor (playground) and looking down straight to 100's of feet decending....parents sometimes oblivious to it because they have another child or busy on a cell phone... what does it take? how about the liability issue? why is architect's safety ignorance wins over the responsibility of insurance payouts & lawyers pockets???
mollyruth January 01, 2012 at 07:08 AM
what a heartless person you are, no one ever die in your life, how dare you say this stuff.
Bellevuesucks March 23, 2012 at 07:33 AM
Bellevue people are a bunch of fake insecure know it alls who have nothing better to talk about than how much money they have when most of them are driving c-class Mercedes paying minimum payments! These people are the jokes of society.


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