Six people were killed and 12 others injured after a demolition project in Center City Philadelphia caused a four-story brick wall to collapse into the adjacent Salvation Army Thrift Store two summers ago. Sean Benschop, a heavy equipment operator for demolition contractor Griffin Campbell, pled guilty to six counts of involuntary manslaughter, 12 counts of reckless endangerment, conspiracy and causing a catastrophe.
After an investigation into the accident, officials believe that Benschop’s excavator, specifically the machine’s vibrations, are what caused the brick wall to collapse. Benschop had been previously warned against using this type of machinery to demolish an unsupported brick wall. According to authorities, Benschop was operating the machine after taking painkillers for his right hand, which was in a cast. Toxicology reports also indicated that he had used marijuana on the day of the collapse.
Also known as Kary Roberts, Benschop has a lengthy criminal history. Since 1994, he has been arrested at least 11 times on charges including drugs, theft and weapons possession. He was convicted of drug trafficking and sentenced to prison in the 1990s. In January 2012, Benschop was arrested for aggravated assault, but the case was dismissed due to a lack of evidence. Both Benschop and Campbell were charged with six counts of third-degree murder for this latest accident, but it is expected that Campbell will fight the charges at trial. If convicted, Benschop could face 10 to 20 years in prison.
As a result of accidents like these, the city plans to enforce stricter reform plans for construction sites, which would include random drug testing, background checks and more frequent site inspections, particularly when a demolition is underway. An experienced construction accident lawyer can help victims of demolition accidents navigate the legal system and make sure that justice is served.
Philadelphia Construction Accident Lawyers at DiTomaso Law Seek Justice for Victims of Demolition Accidents
If you or a loved one has been injured in a demolition accident, the Philadelphia construction accident lawyers at DiTomaso Law will work tirelessly to seek the best possible financial settlement for your injuries. For a free consultation, call 856-414-0010 or contact us online. Our offices are conveniently located in Cherry Hill, New Jersey and Philadelphia and we serve clients in Cherry Hill, Mount Holly, Camden County, Burlington County and throughout South Jersey and Southeastern Pennsylvania.