PHILADELPHIA – A heavy equipment operator accused of being high on marijuana when a downtown building collapsed onto a thrift store, killing six people, is in custody after surrendering to face charges in the deaths, police said.
Sean Benschop, who has a lengthy police record, surrendered Saturday and faces six counts of involuntary manslaughter and 13 counts of reckless endangeriment. He is awaiting arraignment. Authorities believe the 42-year-old Benschop had been using an excavator Wednesday when the four-story building under demolition gave way and toppled onto an attached Salvation Army thrift store, killing two employees and four customers and injuring 13 others.
Deputy Mayor Everett Gillison said a toxicology report showed evidence that Benschop was high on marijuana. That finding, combined with witness statements and evidence from the scene, led to the decision Friday to seek an arrest warrant, he said.