Company Owner Charged With Manslaughter After Deadly South End Trench Collapse

BOSTON (CBS) – The owner of Atlantic Drain Services is being charged with manslaughter and misleading the investigation into to the death of two employees who were trapped in a flooded trench following a South End water main break.

Suffolk District Attorney Dan Conley announced Wednesday that Kevin Otto and Atlantic Drain Services have each been charged with two counts of manslaughter, one count of misleading an investigator, and six counts of concealing a record following the deadly October incident on Dartmouth Street.

Conley said federal requirements mandate that trenches deeper than five feet must be shored up using metal or wood. The Dartmouth Street trench was 14 feet deep but not secured.

Robert Higgins and Kelvin Mattocks died when they became trapped beneath the water in the trench following a water main break.

Otto and Atlantic Drain Services had two prior Occupational Safety and Health Administration violations in the past 10 years, and as a result were required to undergo training.

Prosecutors allege that the company doctored paperwork to appear that employees had attended training when they had not.

Conley said Atlantic Drain Services “gambled with their employees lives and safety.”

“That isn’t an accident.  That isn’t negligence.  That’s wanton and reckless conduct, and we believe it cost two men their lives,” Conley said.

A grand jury made the indictment on manslaughter charges against Otto and the company.

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One Comment

  1. The one thousand dollar fine is a city fine ? The osha fine would be a federal fine ? In any event the fine is for anything they issue it for. A raised fine likely will mean nothing in prevention. It will increase likely hood of the fine being used by city workers on city projects more than by private workers. Th fine is a fine to comply and get the person motivated to do as the enforcement officer wants then too. Those monies then go to the general fund , no those dead or injured, Those dead or injured utilize several sets of other laws so as to recoup in wrongful death suits. As such although the over all situation is very sad. The knee jerk reaction for legislature to raise fines for general minor or higher in-fractures of what ever the general scope of the fine ordinance or MGL’s spread out over will rake in a lot of other lesser things , and as such push up costs associated to all things to come. In general many of the city state requirements render no safety improvement and only a fine and money to run their Government with, whereas it is like some one that wants to get cash for their miscellaneous budget so as to use as they want whenever they want for what ever they want . The money is like yeah give to our city departments we do not mind making doe off other peoples misery misfortune. The OSHA fine is different it is preventative and stops safety violations and is used to fund safety divisions of OSHA, Whereas the Mayoral and State fines or DCR hunting fees in Blue Hills paid for Golf Carts to whisk politicians to and rom the Boston Hatch Shell for the Boston Pops forth of July Concert.

    Increasing fines should be a thoroughly deliberated thing, even by and with parties totally not a part of this situation relative to pro’s con’s and need if any to do so, fines in recent years are viewed as a fast buck way to make money and have more to spend for those that give them in their departmental budgets. It becomes tax and spend , tax and spend without end.
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    Many home owners have their service lines up graded when the town or city upgrade their main water line. – There could be new cost implications – if expanded rules are placed into effect –

    how many homeowners that upgraded their service line had to have Lowes or Home Depot send over lumber deliveries and have contingents of carpenters spend 3 or 4 days shoring up the trench that took only 30 minutes to dig from street to house , then did they have the carpenter team spend 3o or 4 more days removing the shoring up materials so as to fill the trench in — then the whole time all those teams are in and out of the trench to shore it – would that not increase the time frame window of vulnerability of being in the trench with way more people in it than if relative to the private home owner had the original trench construction workers just were allowed the lead way they needed to get in out and get done- – ======= In the case of entire city streets or blocks or road ways where the tax payers have unlimited amounts of money for them – then cast iorn trench boxes – with all there wait can be hauled all across country and charged to them for miles and miles of roadway —- but to do so for little business team doing service run from house to street — could put all of them out of business and leave only one company to do the whole country at what ever price they wish to bid;l and no competitor to compare the price to -type of thing.

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    To avoid all bad scenarios and even the original bad one — it would be best to have all contractors and citizens in all situations and of all projects weighing on fine deliberations and offer testimony in all directions. Or give advice on how to draft them or to drop them when not needed, Unfortunately Massachusetts never does that to the level it should !

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