Locks were unsecured on folding bench that killed boy
NEW MILFORD, N.J. (AP) — Authorities say two locks designed to hold a vertically-stored bench in the gymnasium wall at a northern New Jersey school weren't secured when the bench broke loose and killed a 7-year-old boy last week.
A New Milford police department report obtained by The Record noted the bench's "dead bolt locking mechanism" wasn't engaged and a "backup swivel safety latch" appeared to be missing from the bench.
The dead bolt is controlled by a key and used to secure the bench to the wall. The swivel latch is usually on the outside of the casing that holds the bench and is designed as a backup safety feature, according to the police report.
The missing swivel latch wasn't found in the area of the accident, the report stated, and apparently was missing "for some time" due to the rust seen in the area that held the latch in place.
The grounds supervisor for the school said his office had never received a work order to repair the missing bench safety latch, according to the report. New Milford School Superintendent Michael Polizzi declined to comment on the report.
Borough resident Brendan Jordan was killed in the Jan. 7 accident. He was attending an indoor recreation soccer program at the town's Berkley Street Elementary School when he came near a fold-down table and benches stored in the wall.
Authorities have said a 108-pound wood and steel bench fell and struck the child in the head.
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