Sean Benschop: Crane operator formally charged in building collapse

building collapse crane operator
Sean Benschop, 42. (Credit: Philadelphia Police Department).

Philadelphia police have released a headshot of a crane operator who was last Wednesday demolishing a four-story building near 22nd and Market streets when a wall fell, leading to the building collapse of an adjacent Salvation Army thrift store that killed six people and injured 13 more.

Sean Benschop, 42, of the 4900 block of North 7th Street in Olney, was allegedly under the influence of codeine and marijuana while he was operating the heavy machinery.

He was treated and released for injuries suffered in the collapse.

“It is because of [Benschop's] reckless and irresponsible behavior that six people died and thirteen people were hurt and buried under debris and bricks,” Mayor Michael Nutter said in a statement on Benschop’s arrest.

“Our hearts are still hurting over the loss of those six good people, working or shopping at the Salvation Army Thrift Store, trying to ‘do good’. We continue to pray for the physical and mental recovery of the thirteen survivors.

“It is my hope that the harshest level of charges are brought against Sean Benschop and he is punished accordingly. … Justice will only be served if Sean Benschop receives a sentence that buries him in a jailhouse forever, just like his victims were buried on Wednesday.”

“Let us keep all the families affected by this horrific event in our thoughts and prayers, and never forget what happened that day.”

Benschop turned himself in Saturday to the Philadelphia police Central Detective Division and was arraigned early Sunday morning.

He is charged with six counts of involuntary manslaughter, 13 counts of reckless endangerment and one count of risking a catastrophe.

Benschop’s bail was set at 10 percent of $150,000.

He is next due in court June 26 for a preliminary hearing.

Benschop in 1995 served jail time after being convicted of two counts each of manufacturing, delivering or possessing narcotics with the intent to manufacture or deliver and with knowing and intentionally possessing a controlled substance, according to court documents.

Mayor Michael Nutter said at a new conference Friday – during which he announced a litany of improvements the city will be making with regards to standards and policies governing the demolition process – that he will be seeking a Philadelphia Code amendment to require private contractors to conduct background checks of employees and to subject them to random drug testing.


News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
International

Putin fields question from U.S. fugitive Edward Snowden

Edward Snowden, the fugitive former U.S. spy agency contractor who leaked details of intelligence eavesdropping, asked Russian President Vladimir Putin a question on Thursday during…

Local

Boston hospitals apply lessons learned in Marathon bombings

The bombs at last year's Boston Marathon showcased the city's medical talent but also taught valuable lessons in responding to a mass disaster.

National

Rapper affiliate of Wu-Tang Clan 'cuts off own…

Rapper Andre Johnson, who has performed with New York outfit the Wu-Tang Clan, is in a critical condition after reportedly cutting off his own penis…

International

Canadian charged in 'Heartbleed' attack on tax agency

OTTAWA (Reuters) - Canadian police have arrested a 19-year-old man and charged him in connection with exploiting the "Heartbleed" bug to steal taxpayer data from…

The Word

Lawsuit accuses 'X-Men' director Bryan Singer of raping…

A new lawsuit accuses director Bryan Singer of sexual assault against a minor.

Movies

The Cannes Film Festival announces its 2014 lineup

The lineup of the 2014 Cannes Film Festival was announced this morning, promising the latest from a slew of usual (and some unusual) suspects.

Television

‘Survivor: Cagayan’ recap: Episode 8

Sure, it's called Survivor. But this season should really be called 'The Tony Show.'

Television

Jim Rash talks 'The Writer's Room' and amazing…

For Jim Rash, as the fifth season of "Community" comes to a close, the second season of "The Writer's Room" begins.

MLB

MLB video highlights: Red Sox beat White Sox…

Red Sox walk 15 times in extra innings win

NBA

Kris Humphries on free agency, future with Celtics:…

Kris Humphries on free agency, future with Celtics: 'I hope to be back'

NBA

Celtics turn attention to NBA Draft, improve lottery…

Celtics turn attention to NBA Draft, improve lottery odds with loss

NFL

2014 NFL Mock Draft: Updated, new April version

2014 NFL Mock Draft: Updated, new April version

Wellbeing

This Week in Health News: breastfed infants trying…

Are breastfed infants trying to prevent mom from having another baby? Theory: The act of breastfeeding not only brings mom and baby closer together –…

Wellbeing

This Week in Health: chocolate may prevent obesity…

Can chocolate prevent obesity and diabetes? Location of study: U.S. Study subjects: Mice Results: The positive health benefits of chocolate have been studied increasingly more…

Wellbeing

Unexplained infertility may be caused by lack of…

Researchers have identified a protein on the egg's surface that interacts with another protein on the surface of sperm, allowing the two cells to join.

Tech

5 surprising facts about Google Glass

Your sex life could get more interesting.