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
National

Bloomberg: Going green will grant you longer life…

Former NYC mayor Michael Bloomberg tells Metro that cities are where fighting global warming can make a difference, and increase people’s lifespan.

International

Ban Ki Moon: "Climate change is an issue…

My message to you is: make your voice heard and your actions count. Change is in the air. Solutions exist. The race is on. It’s time to lead.

Local

Earth Day New York food toolkits to help…

Hundreds of classrooms across New York City already have indoor container gardens that allow students to grow food right where they learn. But Earth Day…

Local

NYPD announces street closures for United Nations General…

The United Nations representatives are in town, and multiple city streets will be closed to traffic through Saturday, Sept. 26. The NYPD is urging those…

Television

10 Facts you won’t learn about Frankie Grande…

Frankie Grande is the worst and/or the best. Whether or not you're a fan, you'll want to know these facts about the polarizing player from "Big Brother 16."

Movies

Antoine Fuqua can kill someone with just a…

It's amazing what you can get done with the right tools. In designing the climactic battle in "the Equalizer," in which Denzel Washington's retired special…

Movies

Guess Ben Kingsley's worst filmmaking experience

Here's a fun game: Sir Ben Kingsley has made a lot of films since "Gandhi" in 1982, but at least one of them was a…

Books

Does Lena Dunham have any secrets left?

Get a sneak peek at her new book to determine if it’s worth the read.

NFL

3 things that went wrong in Jets loss…

The Jets have very little room for error with a far-from-explosive offense.

NFL

Eli Manning finally feeling good in West Coast…

The Giants have very little time before their next game, but they still took a moment to relish the team’s biggest offensive outburst since Week 1 of 2013.

College

College football top 25 poll: Oregon, Alabama close…

College football top 25 poll: Oregon, Alabama close in on FSU

NFL

Jay Cutler takes Marc Trestman's coaching to heart

While Jay Cutler turned to an autobiography on the man who would be his head coach, Trestman had personal experience with the player.

Wellbeing

Exercising leads to more drinking — and we…

  We’re rewarding ourselves with more than dessert on days we exercise, according to a new study. On days when people exercise more, typically Thursday…

Wellbeing

5 gadgets to protect you from sharks, concussions,…

The medical industry is inundated with devices looking after all aspects of your wellbeing, from monitoring your sleep patterns to warding off shark attacks. We…

Wellbeing

Narcissism and the ugly side of vanity

I have a friend who constantly talks about herself and rarely asks any questions about my life. She is constantly preening, obsessed with her body,…

Wellbeing

Lacking new ideas, Apple Watch disappoints health experts

Technology pundits were quick to predict the demise of most fitness wristbands and smartwatches when the Apple Watch was announced. But health care professionals and…