Excavation Supervisor Convicted in Death of Worker at Meatpacking Site
MEATPACKING DISTRICT — The excavation supervisor on site when a young worker was killed at a Ninth Avenue construction site last year was convicted of criminally negligent homicide on Friday, authorities said.
Wilmer Cueva, 51, had been warned multiple times the morning of April 6, 2015, before the excavation pit he was supervising at 9-19 Ninth Ave. caved in and buried one of his own employees alive.
The employee, 22-year-old Carlos Moncayo, was crushed to death in a 14-foot trench that was not properly supported, investigators said.
Moncayo’s death prompted the city to form a construction task force led by Assistant District Attorney Diana Florence of the Manhattan District Attorney’s office, in collaboration with the city’s Department of Investigation.
Earlier this year, Florence successfully prosecuted the contractor responsible for the site, Harco Construction, leading to a conviction in June of second-degree manslaughter and criminally negligent homicide.
“Today’s verdict continues to demonstrate to the construction industry and to supervisors on construction sites that putting lives at risk by cutting corners and compromising safety will have serious consequences,” DOI Commissioner Mark Peters said Friday. “This tragic death was preventable, had Cueva stood up for integrity and ensured workers were removed from the dangerous conditions.”
Cases against the company Cueva worked for, Sky Materials, and Harco’s foreman on the job, Alfonso Prestia, are still pending.
Harco was sentenced to finance a public service announcement in print and video for worker safety, but the company’s lawyer refused to comply with the sentence.
Harco is due back in court in December.
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