A Manhattan court upheld a manslaughter indictment in the 2008 crane collapse that killed two workers. James Lomma, owner of New York Crane and Equipment, will face the manslaughter charges when the case goes to trial. Tibor Varganyi, former mechanic for New York Crane and Equipment, is also charged in the case. The crane collapse in late May, 2008 also significantly damaged several buildings on Manhattan’s Upper East Side. The construction accident came quickly on the heels of another crane collapse in March of that year, which killed 7 people.
The two workers in the May accident were killed when the cab of the crane fell to the ground from high above the city. The crane operator, Donald Leo, was in the cab when it fell. Ramadan Kurtaj was killed on the ground.
The indictment from the New York County District Attorney alleges multiple violations of City regulations in the repair of the crane that eventually collapsed. These violations provide the basis for the criminal charges. The most serious of the charges in the original indictment is 2nd Degree Manslaughter. According to NY Penal Code Section 125.15(1), “A person is guilty of manslaughter in the second degree when he recklessly causes the death of another person.” Manslaughter in the Second Degree is a Class C felony punishable by up to 15 years in prison. Lomma and Varganyi will have to answer these charges, among others, when the case goes to trial later this year.
Website Resource: Judge upholds manslaughter indictment against crane owner NY Post, Laura Italiano, February 15, 2011