Philadelphia Building Collapse Continues to Puzzle

A Philadelphia crane operator with a lengthy criminal history has been charged with six counts of involuntary manslaughter after an accident in early June. Sean Benschop, 42, was operating an excavator to demolish a four-story building when one wall collapsed and crashed down on a nearby Salvation Army store, killing four shoppers and two employees. Police toxicology reports found marijuana in Benschop’s system, and indicate he may have been high at the time of the accident.

Benschop has an incriminating history–he has been arrested at least 11 times and charged with 16 traffic violations. In addition, two of his numerous arrests were drug-related. Benschop’s lawyer, Daine Grey Jr., said Benschop should not be held liable for any of the six deaths. “This was an accident, but Mr. Benschop is not responsible,” Grey said. “He has worked for a number of contractors throughout the region [for 13 years]. All of the contractors have found him professional and found that he did his work with the highest regard for the safety of those around him.”

Grey argued that Benschop is not responsible, and that authorities have made him “into a monster” and a scapegoat when the company and inspectors are at fault. Less than a week after the building collapsed, 50-year-old building inspector Ronald Wagenhoffer, who inspected the faulty structure, committed suicide, leading investigators with more questions.

If you or a loved one has been injured in an accident caused by faulty manufacturing or misuse of heavy machinery, you may be able to gain compensation for your loss. Seek immediate medical attention and consult a qualified, experienced attorney to discuss the details of your case.