911 calls dispute how many people were on elevator that pinned, crushed football player

ATLANTA — The 911 calls from an incident where an elevator pinned a football player between two floors at his apartment are helping to paint a clearer picture of how the tragedy unfolded.

Some of the player’s teammates were on that elevator and called 911.

The property manager of the building says there were 16 athletes on the elevator. One 911 call disputes that.

Atlanta 911 received several frantic calls from people inside the 444 Highland Avenue apartment high rise Tuesday afternoon.

One caller described the horrific scene.

“The elevator just smashed on these football players and they need somebody up here on the third floor,” one caller told the operator.

The Atlanta fire department said an elevator pinned 19-year-old Champion Prep Academy football player Jamarcus McFarland between the 2nd and 3rd floor. He was barely alive.

His coach, Sean Tarrant, raced to the scene and spoke to the trapped McFarland.


“I just told him, ‘Hey man, hold on. See it through man. See it through,’ and he shook his head a little bit,” Tarrant said.

McFarland died later at the hospital.

Residents of the high rise say they complained about the elevator malfunctioning.

The manager of the property sent Channel 2′s Tom Jones a statement that said the weight capacity of the elevator is 3,000 pounds.

Nathan Phillips said there were 16 athletes in the elevator, pushing the weight to nearly 4,000 pounds.

He said that caused a domino effect leading to McFarland’s death.

One of McFarland’s teammates stuck on the elevator told 911 there weren’t that many athletes inside.

Operator: Alright how many people are in the elevator.

Caller: Oh, about, like nine of us. Ten of us.

“His mom is not holding up well,” Tarrant said.

Tarrant said the incident has been hard on McFarland’s family, his teammates and himself.

“She sent her son to me and that’s what I’m dealing with really,” Tarrant said.

The fire department said the incident was captured on video, so at some point we will see how many people were actually on the elevator.

McFarland’s family needs help getting his body back to Missouri where he is from for his funeral.

A GoFundMe account has been set up to help with those expenses.