Detroit mother falls to her death when railing at duplex collapses

Harriet Johnson dies when iron railing gives way while she was trying to hold on at home on Joy Road


A Detroit mother fell to her death early Wednesday morning when a balcony railing collapsed at a duplex on Joy Road.

Police said 49-year-old Harriet Johnson was with two other people on the second story balcony when she stumbled while getting up from a chair and went to grab an iron railing. It gave way.

Witnesses said another woman, age 34, was on the balcony and tried to save Johnson, but fell as well.

Both women fell 17 feet to the concrete below, police said.

"I saw two women on the ground and I said, 'What in the world?' The police had it surrounded and then the ambulance was trying to revive her," one witness told Local 4. "It is real hard to believe. She was real nice."

Family members told Local 4 Johnson was a mother to two sons, had some grandchildren and worked in housekeeping at the Marriot in downtown Detroit.

"Her grandkids love her, they were always here with her. She was a good worker, she went to work every day, she did her best to try to maintain her household," said Johnson's niece, Latrice Brown.

The 34-year-old woman is in the hospital in stable condition.

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