Building Collapse Backhoe Operator Turns Himself In - New York News

Building Collapse Backhoe Operator Turns Himself In

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Sean Benschop, with red jacket over head, walks with investigators after turning himself in Sean Benschop, with red jacket over head, walks with investigators after turning himself in
PHILADELPHIA -

42-year-old Sean Benschop covered his head with a jacket while turning himself in to Philadelphia Police Saturday afternoon to answer several counts of involuntary manslaughter and reckless endangerment charges.

Benschop is accused of operating a backhoe while high on drugs, triggering a 4-story building under demolition to collapse on top of a Salvation Army thrift shop.  The incident happened Wednesday morning.

The suspect was joined by his attorney outside Central Detectives who said he was innocent of all charges.

"He did what he could to prevent this.." said Daine Grey Jr.  "Unfortunately his efforts weren't enough and we're dealing with the consequences today."

"We believe that in time the facts will show that he is not responsible, and the responsible party will be held accountable."

Sean Benschop faces six counts of involuntary manslaughter, 13 counts of reckless endangerment and risking a catastrophe.   

Police say tests revealed traces of marijuana in his system on the day of the building collapse.  Sources also tell FOX29 he told cops he was using codeine while operating heavy machinery. 

Investigators said he had a cast on his arm while working the equipment but his attorney said it did not compromise his ability to do his job.

"He performed his duties safely," Grey said.  "He did what he's supposed to do."  Grey said Benschop had been doing construction and demolition work for about 13 years. 

Grey said Benschop had been doing construction and demolition work for about 13 years. 

Police seized the backhoe and a steel beam on Thursday and raided Benschop's house Friday afternoon but did not yet find him.  His attorney said he was with family for some time before turning himself in.

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