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New York man charged in connection with fatal elevator accident

On Behalf of | May 9, 2023 | Personal Injury

A New York man has been charged with criminally negligent homicide in connection with a February 2021 elevator accident in the Bronx. The 67-year-old Orange County resident was arraigned on May 2. The man’s 25-year-old apprentice was killed when an elevator car plummeted six stories. The accident took place in a residential building on East Clark Place in the Mount Eden neighborhood. Prosecutors say the man ignored multiple safety regulations prior to the deadly accident.

Preventable tragedy

According to media reports, the accident occurred when the apprentice sawed through steel cables while standing in the pit at the base of the elevator shaft. The cables connected the elevator’s car and counterweight. Investigators discovered that the man failed to take precautions that would have engaged the elevator’s brake and prevented the car from falling.

Missing governor

Investigators also learned that the elevator was missing a crucial piece of safety equipment called a governor at the time of the accident. The governor triggers an elevator’s brake automatically in emergency situations. The governor had been removed two weeks before the accident, but a replacement part did not fit. Instead of replacing the old governor, the man allegedly chose to continue the elevator modernization work without the safety feature. Mistakes like this often lead to personal injury lawsuits, but they rarely result in criminal charges.

Punitive damages

Prosecutors became involved in this case because a life was lost in an accident that would have been prevented if basic safety regulations had been followed. When civil lawsuits are filed in connection with accidents like this one, the plaintiffs often seek punitive as well as compensatory damages. These damages are similar to criminal sentences because they are awarded to punish negligent behavior and deter others from acting in the same manner.


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