Manhattan DA’s Office, DOI, NYPD Announce Manslaughter And Other Charges Against Supervisors And Companies In Connection With April Death Of Construction Worker

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NYPD Chief of Manhattan Detectives William Aubry

Defendants Accused of Failing to Heed and Address Repeated Warnings About Unsafe Work Conditions, Contributing to Worksite Cave-In and Death of Worker

Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance, Jr., and New York City Department of Investigation (“DOI”) Commissioner Mark G. Peters today announced the indictments of WILMER CUEVA, 50, and ALFONSO PRESTIA, 54, as well as their respective companies, SKY MATERIALS CORP. (“SKY”) and HARCO CONSTRUCTION LLC (“HARCO”), a/k/a “H&H Builders, Inc.,” for recklessly causing the death of Carlos Moncayo, a SKY employee, by failing to heed and address repeated warnings about unsafe work conditions at an active construction site. Mr. Moncayo was killed when an unsecured trench in which he was working collapsed and fatally crushed him. The defendants are charged in New York State Supreme Court indictments with Manslaughter in the Second Degree, Criminally Negligent Homicide, and Reckless Endangerment in the Second Degree.[1]

“Carlos Moncayo’s death at a construction site was tragic, but it was also foreseeable and avoidable,” said District Attorney Vance. “As detailed in court documents, repeated warnings about safety hazards at 9-19 Ninth Avenue were issued in the months, weeks, and even minutes before a trench collapsed, killing Mr. Moncayo. Excavation work and trenching are some of the most dangerous jobs on a construction project, and it is during these critical moments that adherence to safety protocols and procedures is essential. In this case, the defendants are charged with recklessly disregarding their professional responsibility to protect workers, and we must do everything in our power to prevent similar incidents. I thank our partners at DOI, the NYPD, and OSHA, as well as the members of our Construction Fraud Task Force for their commitment to ensuring the safety and integrity of building sites throughout the City.”

“In April, we responded to the scene of a deadly construction site in Chelsea to help victims, gather information, and evidence,” Police Commissioner William J. Bratton. “What our detectives quickly learned was that this construction site was also a crime scene. After a thorough investigation, we announce the indictment of those responsible for this crime, as alleged.  I’d like to thank the dedicated team of investigators and prosecutors from the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office who made today a reality.”

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Read more from the Manhattan District Attorney [HERE].