The crane operator who was wanted in the Philadelphia building collapse turned himself into authorities on Saturday
Sean Benschop of Philadelphia was allegedly high on marijuana and painkillers. Police said that marijuana was found in his system after the collapse, reported ABC News.
He admitted to taking codeine and other prescription drugs before operating the excavation. He was also fitted with a soft cast while he working the machinery, according to ABC.
“Sean Benschop finally turned himself in to authorities today,” Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter said, according to the broadcaster “It is because of his reckless and irresponsible behavior that six people died and 13 people were hurt and buried under debris and bricks.”
He added: “It is my hope that the harshest level of charges are brought against Sean Benschop and he is punished accordingly.”
Daine Grey, Benschop’s attorney, told CNN that Benschop was not responsible, describing his client as “extremely sympathetic and remorseful.”
“This was an accident, but Mr. Benschop was not responsible,” Grey told the network. “And we believe that, in time, the facts will show that he is not responsible.”
Benschop will face manslaughter and a slew of other charges.
Grey told The Associated Press that Benschop, who worked as a crane operator for 13 years, was highly skilled and trusted.
“He has been doing this for more than 13 years. He is very experienced. He has worked for a number of contractors throughout the region. All of the contractors have found him professional and found that he did his work with the highest regard for the safety of those around him,” he told AP.
Benschop has been arrested at least 11 times since 1994 on charges such as drugs, theft, weapons possession, and others.