An advertising executive was killed in a gruesome accident Wednesday when an office elevator trapped her in its doors and jolted upward, crushing her between the elevator and the shaft wall between floors.
Suzanne Hart, 41, was heading into work around 10 a.m. at the renowned ad firm Young & Rubicam on 285 Madison Ave. when she was killed instantly in front of two witnesses, authorities said.
"It's a shock. And when you find out what happened, it's a horror," said Hart's stepmother. "She was like sunshine. She was wonderful and caring and happy and an absolute joy."
A man and a woman who were also riding the elevator watched in helpless horror as Hart was crushed. Both were taken to NYU Langone Medical Center for psychological trauma treatment, but they were otherwise uninjured.
Shocked building occupants were evacuated as news of the tragedy spread.
"We heard banging; we heard screaming," said John Hanna, who owns a suit store next-door.
The elevator was last inspected in June, and no issues were found. But 56 violations have been recorded among the building's 13 elevators since 2001.
NYPD spokesman Paul Browne said Hart's clothing might have gotten caught in the doors.
Young & Rubicam CEO Peter Stringham said the firm was devastated by Hart's death.
"We are deeply, deeply saddened to confirm that one of our employees has died," he said outside the building. "The focus at this moment is the well-being of our employee's family and our larger Y&R family."
Follow reporter Tim Herrera on Twitter: @tim_herrera